The Photograph by Penelope Lively
I’m pretty certain that Lively is one of my favorite contemporary writers. I first met her in Moon Tiger when I worked at the bookstore–this is the book that I warned a customer included incest, but “good incest”! Sheesh, what was I thinking?! I think more than anything, it is Lively’s style that I appreciate so–and would emulate if I could. That, and the British-isms that are so delicious.
“He tugs at a file to improve his view of what lies beyond and, sure enough, there is a landslide. Exasperated, her gets down on hands and knees to shovel up this mess, and suddenly there is Kath.
A brown foolscap-size wallet file, with her loopy scrawl across the flap: Keep!
… What is she doing her, in the middle of all this stuff that has nothing to do with her?” (2)
Only a couple dozen pages in, I am already intrigued. Glyn, searching for papers he needs to write an academic paper, comes across an envelope that contains (big surprise) a photograph. The photograph–also labeled DON’T OPEN–DESTROY seems to indicate his deceased wife may have had an affair. With her brother-in-law, no less.
We’ll see how this all plays out. The piles of papers is what hooked me–