Puppyfat bores on and on about food: the biscuits, the honey, the ham-hock she’ll eat when she’s free. She kicks the door sullenly, even though we long ago established this is pointless.
Crone complains of the cold. Sitting in her nest of scabby woollens, her eyes black as keyholes, finger-bones twitching, keening about her rheumatism. Puppyfat’s mutterings have nothing on the old woman’s drone. About midday, I think it is, I stop plotting ways to get out of the room and start plotting ways to stop her mouth.
An hour or two later, I cadge a match from Puppyfat, who is eking out a pack of cigarettes, and watch as Crone’s stinking woollens start to smoulder.
'How she struggled!' says Puppyfat, wide-eyed. 'Wouldn’t have thought the old twig had it in her.'
Puppyfat gets her bone, but it doesn’t shut her up for long. The day has begun again, the endless day. Puppyfat starts in on her litany and I narrow my eyes to slits, and count the matches in the box.
Winner of the 2016 Viva La Novella Prize
James and his family live in a beautiful house perched on the edge of a forest, within the curve of a giant dome. They circle each other like fish in a fishbowl.
Aquila – James’s philandering father, a renowned artist – prepares to unveil his latest and most shocking work. Suzanne, James’s mother, medicates herself against a rising tide of loneliness and memory. James seeks refuge from the adult world in his drawings and dreams.
But when James’s sister, Charity, returns home, she brings with her a visitor who will shake their fragile home to its foundations.
The Bonobo’s Dream is speculative fiction at its finest, probing the limits of what it means to be human.