‘The Long QT’ by Hilary Mantel

mantel-hilary-2014

The Long QT by Hilary Mantel, 2014

The magic trick:

Starting with a dramatic moment and ramping up to an even more dramatic one

“The Long QT” imagines a very dramatic scene – a wife walks in on her husband as he embraces another woman. Remarkably, that scene crescendos to an even more dramatic moment at the story’s conclusion. And that’s quite a trick on Mantel’s part.

The selection:

The time would come, after dusk, when wives got maudlin and husbands boastful and bellicose, when spats broke out about private schooling and tree roots and parking permits; then, she said, the less glass there is about, the better. He said, you make it sound like some pub brawl on an estate. He said, for God’s sake, woman, put down that wasp spray.

All this he thought, while he was nibbling Lorraine.

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