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The Fractured Life of Jimmy Dice

by Ronan Ryan

The device of narration by Jimmy's dead twin is the initial ask, but once accepted, is something like our internal conversation with our better self - except that construct doesn't have access to the thoughts of our family and friends. The well-meaning lies that cover the too-harsh facts of Jimmy's family past can only be made whole through this disembodied objectivity plus personal tenderness. An addictive read.

Extract

In Jimmy's room, Elizabeth creeps close to him, sychronising her breathing with his. The lights are off, but the full moon is shining through the window. His eyelids are scrunched, and he sucks air noisily through his mouth and pumps it out. She kisses his cheek lightly and whispers, almost inaudibly, 'We love you'. Then she sits on the chair, without a squeak.
She's taken in by his pretence of being asleep. Jimmy believes he can feel her watching him, but doesn't hear her. As the minutes tick by, he's tempted to open his eyes and confirm she's still there. He's about to when he feels his blanket shift and slowly rise away from his chest, then from his lower body. Spiky air probes his bare whole leg and his mummified stump. He cracks open his eyes and, squinting, sees Elizabeth standing there, pulling the blanket up by its hem. Her rapt grimace as she stares at his stump is positively ghoulish.

Parallels

The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje
 

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