Saturday 23 April 2016


Martin Fallon, architect, emerges from a coma and finds his brain an unreliable narrator of his life.

He is told to keep a “recovery journal”. Christ, a phrase that practically carried its own air quotes along with all the other carefully balanced baggage carts of self –congratulation and self-pity.

He has to relearn movements. The gesture of nodding arrived naturally in his head. It was an act slower than simply nodding, a movement that Martin felt could be sustained indefinitely, even incorporated into his everyday routine. Useful even for swallowing pills.

He ends up walking down into a road ditch without quite understanding the purpose of his movements. His voice rose, seeming to his brother to have the same tonal quality, the same visceral timbre, of an animal in distress. It was a sound that touched him almost more than the fact that it came from his brother. The sound demanded action.

Martin remembers:
The women at the party, a cluster of lakeside doyennes and their monumental spouses, the clique of legacy lakesiders. This group was offset by another category of female guest that struck him as oscillating with the energy of striving for some urgent yet mysterious goal. Their silent, sullen husbands followed a step behind like cut-rate bodyguards.
April in Moscow.Wet snow was not uncommon this late in April, the tail end of a winter snapping one last time on the city. It was a threat acknowledged on the face of every Muscovite. A grim refusal to be caught out in one’s hope.

The suicide attempt. It was no longer a mere incident clouded in amnesia, but an event he could construct, richer and sadder and more cinematic than any simple recollection of events.

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