Beauty and terror of the flatlands

TEN years ago, Jon McGregor’s first short story was published in Granta magazine. In Winter The Sky was about a teenager who, driving back home after a romantic tryst, is so distracted by the warm memory of the girl he has just kissed, that he runs over a man and kills him. He doesn’t tell a soul. Having long since married the girl, the story ends as he confesses to her the secret that has burdened, and shaped, their relationship. The dead body, its furtive roadside burial, and the baleful weight it has exerted over the years, becomes a metaphor for the unmentionable secrets that couples carry.

Three acclaimed novels and numerous stories later, McGregor re-writes In Winter The Sky” for his latest collection. The man’s account now runs parallel to his wife’s version, written far more self-consciously with scored-out phrases and artfully constructed sentences. Their joint account is now as much about storytelling as about its tellers. The story is a beautiful, doom-laden one, dominated by an all-seeing sky - “a shimmering blue silence from which there is no hiding place”. — The Independent