Panenka by  Rónán Hession


Rónán Hession

As Joseph receives some devastating personal news, his life is opening up with possibilities. Beautifully written and very moving, I learned at least two things from this book: what a panenka is, and what a great writer Ronan Hession is.


Panenka removed his hat and tracksuit top and took his place in the chair, which sighed under his weight.

'Take a little bit off,' he said. 'Please.'

'You've nice hair,' she said. 'Really fine though. And you've kept your colour,  which is unusual... - you must have youthful genes.'

She brought her face close and folded his ear gently, her fingers cool against his skin. Tears brimmed at his lower lids .... The tips of her fingernails pressed intimately onto the back of his ear and Panenka was undone by the delicacy of it. His eyelids shuttered down, and two fugitive tears escaped ....

'Are you alright? Here, let me take this off.' She whisked away the cape without letting the clippings fall onto his clothes ....

She reached over and touched his wrist. 'Look,' she said, 'it's none of my business but ... I know what it's like.'

He turned towards her.

'I mean, I know what it's like not to be okay.' Having said it, she withdrew her hand.

Panenka, hesitating at first, said nothing.

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