Another Part of the Wood (Flamingo) by Beryl Bainbridge

By Beryl Bainbridge

In a distant cottage in Wales, city are spending their vacation with an idealistic proprietor and his protege. first and foremost every thing is idyllic, yet disaster lurks in the back of each tree, and because the vacation keeps their relationships begin to convey their cracks, culminating in a sad finale.

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Sample text

He let himself out quietly, treading gently down the path so as not to disturb the wife. She would probably want to know why he was going and where and what for, and he didn’t want to discuss it. He had married late, after the death of his mother, and mostly he confused the two women in his mind. At the crossroads his footsteps faltered as if, by rights, by habit, his boots should go left towards the pit. He spat frequently into the grass as he went, walking with legs well-bent at the knee, eyes darting from side to side under the colourless brim of his cap, seeing little pictures – a brown bottle, unbroken, upright in a patch of thistle, a line of sheep two meadows distant, pouring like grey milk through a gap in the hedge, the mountain humped behind a scroll of mist.

Dotty regarded the flushed Balfour. ’ Balfour tried to concentrate. Joseph was saying something, something about the people due to arrive tomorrow. He must attend. There might, who knows, be a message. ‘She’s a blonde,’ said Joseph, ‘and he’s in some sort of business. He used to be in the army. ’ ‘Didn’t I? Oh well, they’re married, George. ’ Dear God, thought Balfour, practically sobered with shock. Not two men but a man and wife – a woman with yellow hair and a man with a mutilated arse, in his hut, sleeping in the same room as himself.

His memory of his marriage, of his whole relationship with his wife, was so frail that he couldn’t remember for certain why it was they had separated or how long they had been apart, or the duration of their time together. But then he didn’t remember either the lengths or the depths of any of his involvements with any one person. He was either absorbed or empty, and one feeling followed the other. He thought he remembered his wife when they were first married, the girl in the long nightgown with a sleepy face, broad bare feet going over the blind-school matting – not going away from him but towards him.

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