I publish all my tiny stories at www.tinystori.es, where you can choose whether you want a love story or not. But who doesn’t want a love story? I wrote these new ones today.
Young and dumb
We were twelve. I’m pretty sure the first thing she said to me was, ‘I don’t think I want to go out with you anymore.’
We communicated in writing for some years before we met. She wrote the small print for the hair products our company produced, and I corrected unclear wording and checked that all the side effects were included. She rarely made mistakes. When I finally asked her to marry me, she read the forty pages of terms and conditions carefully, then smiled and said, ‘just so long as my statutory rights are not affected.’
My right hand started in the foothills, white and black notes rolling over each other as the piece climbed. And whilst it climbed, I sang. Sharps and naturals flowing under my fingers and out of my mouth. The need to breathe was frustrating. I had to gulp air even when there was no pause in the music. […] I came to understand Ute’s green notes – when to be steady and which fingers she had used for the most difficult sections. I liked to think they were messages written for me to find, in the middle of a forest on a piano that made no sound.
What I loved about this book was its sense of place: it takes a landscape in South Germany which I felt as if I could easily have hiked through, and explores it in minute detail. This small area of hillside is a whole world for Peggy, the book’s narrator-protagonist, and she is proud to know every inch of it.
He had a thick moustache which was curtailed severely in line with the outer limits of his great red mouth. His eyes were bloodshot and full of stoically endured pain which only tsunamic revenge and the grovelling apologies of world leaders could hope to cure. Hard wrinkles added a sculpturesque emphasis to a frowning forehead, under a symmetrical haircut combed back like a rinsed paintbrush.
I’m pretty sure it’s only possible to write two sentences about this book without spoiling the story.
Michel Faber has a knack for describing human beings in a way that makes you feel simultaneously affectionate and amused. He picks out the tiny, ridiculous details of the way people speak, act, and style their moustaches.
If you don’t want any spoilers, look away now! And preferably order the book; it’s great.
Tendrils was reviewed by Julia Korbik, author of Stand Up. Feminismus für Anfänger und Fortgeschrittene (Stand Up. Feminism for Beginners and Advanced Learners).
Zuzi in particular is fighting the battle for self-determination, to no longer to be a projection of those who yearn after her; to portray herself, rather than be portrayed. Alena tells her, ‘There’s something about you which can’t be softened. (…) Something which can’t be smoothed out with brush strokes’. At the same time, the story of a country’s emancipation is being told: the Czech Republic. Ochre and Tomàš experienced and took part in the Velvet Revolution in 1989. Zuzi and Alena grew up in post-Soviet Czech Republic, but they are not unaffected by the past.
Read the full review in English, German or Italian.