History. A Mess. by Sigrún Pálsdóttir

History. A Mess.

Sigrún Pálsdóttir

A mistaken interpretation of a historic manuscript transports the narrator, elated in the belief she has discovered England’s first female artist. But what follows in the writing of her thesis and the realisation of the error, plummets her into freefall. As her personality disintegrates, the journey through her mindscape will chill you with its overlay of everyday relationships and the question – what is true, what is real?


I stand still as a grave and look ever so cautiously behind me. But there's no one. Just darkness. I look back at the glass. More movement. And now I see what it is. A woman. She's in profile, standing straight as an arrow, arms by her sides, and in one hand she holds a handbag. The picture of the young man, the artwork, against the wall, begins to dissolve, the background comes to the surface, and I can now see that opposite the woman is a man sitting in a deep chair. Seen from my perspective, he is behind her, and so I cannot make out the foot of one of his crossed legs; suddenly his other leg swings across, alternately disappearing and reappearing from behind the woman, who is standing by a dining table. She has put her bag on the table and seems to be looking for something inside. Sometimes she makes a shooing motion with one hand; now and then something or someone outside the frame pulls at her dress. A shining shirtwaist dress. One that gleams and shines.

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