The McKays came in most weekends, or that's how it seemed anyhow, and always smelling of blood. Everyone knew they killed their animals. Uncle Neil, but the
boys too, he taught them how to do it, then they'd all walk in through Gran's kitchen door Saturday morning, smiling the big white smiles like they had knives in them and carrying in their arms their parcels of meat.
"A beast...." That's what Uncle Neil called it, the thing that they were bringing in. Not cow, or sheep, or deer, only, "I've got a beast for you here..." like it had never been alive on the farm, a creature with eyelashes and breath, but was altogether different and now it was dead.
That was Davey. He was the eldest, and kind of like a man. He never used to say "Hello". just "Hey" like that, while he chewed gum. "Pull in, will you, so I can get past..."
Extract from 44 THINGS by Kirsty Gunn [Atlantic] 25. Now I can see how it was, I think.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Always smelling of blood
Come and hear Kirsty Gunn read from this astonishing story and other work including her work-in-progress which has Katherine Mansfield as its subject. She is speaking as part of the Writers Read series, THURSDAY AUGUST 6, 6 PM, Massey University Wellington campus, Buckle Street Entrance [follow the signs to the Theatrette] or FRIDAY AUGUST 7, 7 PM, Palmerston North City Library.
I'm chairing both events and looking forward to discussing Kirsty's work and her search for a new form that eshews the 'narrative arc'. She spoke on Monday at Te Papa and captivated the audience with the insights into her writing life.
Kirsty is pictured above at Randell Cottage Thorndon where she is the writer in residence.
Photo Credit: Mary McCallum