‘Even Pretty Eyes Commit Crimes’ by M.J. Hyland

Even Pretty Eyes Commit Crimes by M.J. Hyland, 2012

The magic trick:

Showing two characters at different ages and in different moods but always staying true to their essences 

This is a deceptively complicated story.

A man comes home from his overnight shift at the hospital to find his father waiting for him with a pineapple. Their ensuing conversation is the story.

Simple, right?

Well, not really.

Consider that we get to know the man, the dad, their relationship, their family history, prejudices, insecurities, strengths and weaknesses all through this conversation.

Well this conversation plus some memories of past conversations.

Remarkably, the two men act differently throughout the story, depending on their age, the moment, or their mood, and yet you never for a second think that the author has lost control. It always feels like the same people. The character development always stays true.

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

The selection:

My father looked into the bedroom, just as I had done. He suspected Janice of straying, just as he’d suspected my mother.

‘Janice must be out,’ I said.

I straightened my shoulders and tried to hide my worry and fatigue. I was at the end of a long run of night shifts, and I wasn’t in the mood for a grilling.

He looked into the bedroom again. ‘Where do you think she is?’

‘Keep your hat on, Dad. She’s probably just popped out to do some shopping.’

I owed my father some money, and mentioning shops was a mistake. He was well off and enjoyed his riches, but he didn’t like giving money away, not without arrangements for its ‘fair return’.

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