Three and a Half Deaths: Short Reads
An accident, a suicide, an act of criminal negligence... and a near-death experience. These stories – set in France, the USA and Canada – bring together calamities from two centuries. What the Driver Saw is inspired by a freak accident on Nice's Promenade des Anglais, the 1920s equivalent of Princess Diana's last ride through Paris. The Trap takes us to New York, 1878, when a woman at the centre of a public scandal decides that she's finally had enough. Any thinking about death must of course include its lingering effects on the living; Sissy explores the guilt and culpability of a survivor, whose young sister died in the 1840s in London, Ontario. Finally, Fall is about an incident at Niagara Falls in 1901 when a middle-aged schoolteacher decided to stake her whole future on an act so daring it could be called suicidal. A near-death, a sort of rebirth: the kind of moment that makes visible the discreet courage it takes to live a whole life.