The Queen's Margarine
In Wendy Perriam's sixth short-story collection, catalysts for life-change come in surprising forms. A small, white curly dog pursues a man from pub to office, turning his whole existence upside-down. A collection of porcelain figurines drives an elderly widower to escape his home and find solace with Marilyn Monroe. A bunch of orange tulips propels a staidly married librarian into the arms of an exuberant poet. A pair of returned Eurostar tickets whisks long-separated lovers towards heady new romance. Many of Perriam's characters harbour guilty secrets or long-suppressed desires. Spouses cheat on spouses; restive mothers kick against their ties; loveless singletons yearn for poetry and passion in their lives. Not all her ugly ducklings succeed in turning into swans, but most do at least take wing - and sometimes a touch of magic intervenes. In this inventive new collection, the mundane goes hand in hand with the miraculous - and even the Queen eats margarine.