‘Roman Spring’ by Leslie Norris

Roman Spring by Leslie Norris, 1978

The magic trick:

Slow-speed storytelling

I enjoyed this story so much that I sought out more Leslie Norris for a mini-Norris-binge this spring. They are stories that won’t change your life, but rather will soothe your soul. There’s something very escapist and calming about the way he writes about Wales and western England.

I think the key is pace. He stretches out and takes his time. He describes the settings. He luxuriates in telling you about the way he cleans out the old well near his house. It can try your patience if you’re looking for a different kind of story. But reframe your expectations. Don’t let the easy pace frustrate you. Embrace it. You will fall soon under the story’s spell and wind up wishing it were 10 pages longer.

And that’s quite a trick on Norris’s part.

The selection:

They made marvelous burning. Every night for almost a week I banked my evening fires high with sweet wood, and we’d sit there in the leaping dark, in the low house, until it was time for supper. Then, one morning, the spring came.

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