If It Keeps On Raining by Jon McGregor, 2010
The magic trick:
Building a character portrait through the revelation of his insecurities and paranoid concerns
A BBC National Short Story Award finalist for 2010, “If It Keeps On Raining” puts us in the mind and thoughts of a man, who as far as we know, wakes up every morning, walks outside, and urinates onto the stone path that leads from his front door to the river.
His thoughts wander, his imagination rich with detail but also tied closely to his own insecurities and paranoia. It’s this last part – his insecurities and paranoia – that really are the key to the story. They reveal themselves slowly at first, eventually building a psychological profile of the man.
And that’s quite a trick on McGregor’s part.
He thinks about this a lot. But, who knows. It doesn’t seem worth dwelling on. It seems an unlikely thing to need to consider, the proper procedure in such an event. But it’s not an entirely unlikely occurrence. It happens. It has happened. People fall in the water, and they disappear, and they reappear drowned. It’s not impossible. It’s a thing that can happen.
Perhaps that’s why the men on the barges don’t wave. Because they’re concentrating. They know about the things that can happen. They take the river seriously.
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