The Walled Garden by Peter Taylor, 1941
The magic trick:
A story about a confined space told by a woman who controls her own narrative with a confining, tight grip
We’re off to Tennessee this week.
Memphis never felt so claustrophobic as in today’s Peter Taylor feature. The walled garden could have any number of symbolic meanings. What’s especially notable here, though, is that the narrator’s need to control the narrative spin of everything she says is the most confining aspect of the story. One gets the sense that she has played and replayed these crucial moments of her life over and over in her mind, editing and honing them until her role in the drama is above any possible judgment. And that’s quite a trick on Taylor’s part.
But my daughter has most of her permanent friends among the flower-minded people. She makes so few friends nowadays outside of our little circle, sees so few people outside our own garden here, really, that I find it quite strange for there to be someone who doesn’t know flowers.
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