I've been meaning to read Hilary Mantel's books for a while but haven't gotten to them yet, and so was delighted to have the chance to get to know her writing a bit through this short story. I especially enjoyed the way she captured the tension and inequalities inherent in this unlikely relationship - they put the reader on alert. The narrator is drawn to Mary because she is different, taboo, and perhaps a bit dangerous. But while she goes to meet her every day, the narrator carefully navigates her ambivalence about the friendship, for she is not exactly a loyal friend to Mary. When the girl makes excuses about her whereabouts to her mother and aunt, she makes them at Mary's expense, and they all have a good laugh over the Joplin family. The story ends with a later-in-life meeting between the now-grown women, the emotional content of which rings stark and a bit sad, but sadly true.
You can read Comma here. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the story. For those of you who have read other books by Hilary Mantel, how does "Comma" compare? Which of her books do you most recommend? Are you looking forward to the soon-to-be released sequel to Wolf Hall?
Story Sundays are all about short fiction here on the blog. This weekly meme was created by Ellen at Fat Books, Thin Women and is also celebrated at Novelniche: A Place for Books. Be sure to check out their blogs for wonderful short fiction selections and other excellent reviews. All stories reviewed can be read free online.