‘Sunday Lunch’ by Nancy Hale

Sunday Lunch by Nancy Hale, 1965

The magic trick:

Giving the reader an answer key of sorts in the form of a clairvoyant clergyman

Odd and oddly complex story here today.

Mrs. Beneker is hosting a Sunday lunch, and one of her guests is a young clergyman new to the local parish. He is a bit of empath. In fact, his sensitivity for other people is so strong that it borders on clairvoyance.

As you can imagine, access to his thoughts then throughout the bulk of the story provides the reader with a fascinating level of insight into what the other characters are thinking, feeling, and even about to experience.

It’s an interesting way to make a story work, and it perfectly sets up the story’s final act, where the point of view shifts away from the clergyman and to Mrs. Beneker’s secret.

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

The selection:

She’s cooking up something, the young clergyman thought. She’s in the midst of some plot. Is she going to leave him? She feels that way. Go ahead and say anything you like, he thought, at Audrey. Swear all you want. The more you say, the more I know you, and I love to know you.

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