salt slow

by uzwi

A cohort of bright and lively Catholic schoolgirls, required to watch sex-education videos– “censored Health and Safety movies from the 1970s, heavy on abstracted metaphors and light on biology” –suddenly grow “slack and strange from too much inactivity” and spend their time boasting to each other about their physical flaws. These competitive lists of defects quickly yaw towards the macabre. “I dream in sheddings,” the narrator tells us; soon enough we begin to suspect that her skin problem might be something more than metaphor… Julia Armfield lays tender but surreal fantasies like nets over a deep comic savagery, structuring them like films from another country. My review of her debut collection Salt Slow in the Guardian; and of the astonishing short “The Great Awake” at Jonathan Gibbs’ A Personal Anthology (scroll down).