The Carpet With The Big Pink Roses On It by Maeve Brennan, 1964
The magic trick:
Trusting your material, even if it’s slow-paced and slight
In a very small, very quiet way, this is a perfect story.
It’s about a woman who is tired. She has two young daughters, and she wants a nap. So she takes a nap.
And that’s about it.
That’s the story.
The truly remarkable thing is the way Brennan trusts her material. You might expect someone with a story that slight to try dressing it up with gaudy flourishes – reaches for symbolism, attempts to connect the story to the wider world, and the like.
But not here.
The story is the story. No more, no less. And that’s plenty enough.
And that’s quite a trick on Brennan’s part.
The carpet looked so inviting down there on the grass. It would be just right, to lie there in the open air and dream, not sleep. She envied people who felt free to do as they liked, without feeling self-conscious or ashamed of themselves. There were a lot of women who would lie down on that grass, or on that carpet, and never think the less of themselves, and never wonder what other people thought of them. Mrs. Bagot wished she could be like that. They were lucky, those people.
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