Saturday, 29 October 2016

'The Eyes'

We're back in Old Russia for the next story in Michel Eisele's The Girl  with the Peacock Harp. 'The Eyes' begins with Natalia leaving her eighteenth birthday party on an impulse, after feeling stifled by a multiplicity of suitors. It is winter, and instead of taking the usual way home Natalia orders her driver to take the one horse sort-of open sleight onto the frozen Neva. A pack of wolves emerges from the woods and a hot pursuit begins, with the wolves gaining...

This is a vignette that lingers in the mind thanks to some powerful imagery. The lead wolf, a black-furred creature, fascinates Natalia, who sees in him something lacking in the (implicitly) over-civilised adult life she has symbolically rejected. It's a Romantic story in the original sense of the term, favouring passion over reason, the intensity of the moment over the pleasures of moderation. That said, Natalia keeps a gun in her handbag, so the ways of technological civilisation are not to be spurned entirely.

Short story, short review. I'll have another one soon, if the wolves don't get me.

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