Walking The Dog and Other Stories
By Bernard MacLaverty
A man out walking his dog is kidnapped by two UDR soldiers posing as IRA men in order to sound out the loyalties of their target.
Extract from ‘Walking The Dog’
“As he left the house he heard the music for the start of the Nine O’Clock news. At the top of the cul-de-sac was a paved path which sloped steeply and could be dangerous in icy weather like this. The snow had melted a little during the day but frozen over again at night. It had done this for several days now - snowing a bit, melting a bit, freezing a bit. The walked-over ice crackled as he put his weight on it and he knew he wouldn’t go far. He was exercising the dog - not himself.
The animal’s breath was visible on the cold air as it panted up the short slope onto the main road, straining against the leash. The dog stopped and lifted his leg against the cement post.
‘Here boy, come on.’”
Copyright © Bernard MacLaverty. Reproduced by permission of the author c/o Rogers, Coleridge and White Ltd., 20 Powis Mews, London W11 1JN
On the Art of the Short Story
Walking the Dog
The Fountain-Pen Shop Woman
A Silent Retreat
Looking out the Window - I
At the Beach
The Wake House
A Visit to Norway
This Fella I knew
A Foreign Dignitary
O’Donnell v.Your Man
St Mungo’s Mansion
Looking out the Window - II
While illustrating the simple danger that any one in troubled times might suffer ambush and abuse, the title story also explores the tribal responsibilities that were often imposed on innocent individuals.
Independent: His tales are poised and beautifully balanced, outward yet intimate, graced by both subtlety and substance. In Walking the Dog he proves his talents as a miniaturist once more.
The Scotsman: MacLaverty shows an amazing ability to take a knife to a scene, cut it to the heart and close it again with a swiftness and deftness that takes the breath away.
The Observer: To point out the excellence of MacLaverty’s writing is almost to do it a disservice. His prose is invisible, free of tricks, as though it was your own thoughts. His characters are revealed whole through every scrap of dialogue.
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