Sunday, 7 June 2015

The Wine Breath

Yesterday I reread The Wine Breath, a short story by John McGahern that I first heard as a New Yorker fiction podcast, read by the author Yiyun Li. That was way back in 2009 (it is still available in iTunes: scroll down to 68) but I've returned to the story many times since, always finding in it a new brilliance  and sometimes an uncanny synchronicity with my own writing concerns.

Road to the Sky iv (2009) by Bill Jacklin RA
© Bill Jacklin

'The priest put his hand to the black gate, bolted to the first of the alders, 
and was at once arrested by showery sunlight falling down the avenue...'

My latest reading was instigated by a meeting with the artist Bill Jacklin. I was reminded of the story while looking at Jacklin’s paintings and monotypes in the Royal Academy Summer show after we’d concluded our interview. This is just an anachronistic fantasy, but McGahern's entire story could be seen as a wonderful response to Jacklin's paintings. Take a closer look at Jacklin’s work, and you’ll see what I mean. 

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