Earle wants ‘more than anything in the whole entire universe to ride a roller coaster’ at the A&P show. At the same time he wants not to do the compulsive thing that takes him close, though never quite close enough, to bliss. Casting shadows over Earle’s hopes and fears are his father, Lloyd, and the man in the car that pulls up alongside, offering tickets for the show.
Margaretha dreads the ‘sweet zephyrs’ of spring that lure maids from the house where her husband labours over his ‘vats of stinking hell’ — seeking gold in urine. The new maid Hilda — ‘hot Hilda!’ — besides being a boon in a wintry bed harbours alchemical secrets of her own.
Lily’s mother sees shapeliness waiting to emerge from raggedy rosebushes, and from a gangly half-grown daughter. But a Saturday morning death and its awkward, bruising aftermath threaten the lovely forms.
Three stories that demonstrate the author’s verve and versatility, her keen eye and attentive ear.
Sue talks about The Happiest Music on Earth.