The Baby In Pink Tarlatan by Joaõ do Rio, 1910
The magic trick:
Using an audience in the story to add a layer of social commentary
Yesterday, Clarice Lispector took us to the Rio de Janeiro Carnival for a child’s view of the madness. Today, we get the adult view, and, frankly, it’s even more terrifying. I especially enjoyed the framing device. The story itself is a party conversation, with our narrator sharing a Carnival anecdote with a few friends. Their reactions add an extra layer of commentary. They go from intrigued to amused to horrified to unfazed. Even the deathly dark conclusion doesn’t really sink in for them. They are able to dismiss it as “… a nice adventure. Who doesn’t have his or her adventure at Carnival time?” This one was thrilling at least.” And that’s quite a trick on do Rio’s part.
“There she was! I felt my heart beating. I stopped. ‘Good friends always find each other,’ I said. The baby smiled without saying a word. ‘Are you waiting for someone?’ She nodded her head no. I put my arm around her. ‘Will you come with me?’ ‘Where?’ she asked in her harsh, hoarse voice.
“’Wherever you want!’ I took her hands. They were damp but well cared for. I tried to give her a kiss. She drew back. My lips only touched the tip of her nose. I was out of my mind.”
Subscribe to the Short Story Magic Tricks Monthly Newsletter to get the latest short story news, contests and fun.