Sunday, September 20, 1998

New Statesman competition

From a NS competition in which biblical stories were to be retold as by a modern author. In most of these, to know the choice is not to need to read more. For ex., Noah as by Hemingway: "When the call came, the old man knew what he had to do..." etc. The loaves and fishes as by Irvine Welsh (the author of Trainspotting): "Faithless wankers! spat Jesus--Shut it and wait." David & Goliath as by Frederick Forsyth (Day of the Jackal): "The momentum of the quicksilver carried it forward through the front of the pebble, shattering it into 2,143 tiny slivers, sharper than glass; 2,081 failed to penetrate the skull, but any 27 of the remaining 62 shards would have been enough." My favorite, in the style of Arthur Conan Doyle:

In the third week of November a dense fog settled over the eastern suburb of Eden where my father Adam resided with his housekeeper Eve.
"Nothing of interest in the paper, Cain? The Eden criminal is a dull fellow. Since the death of the serpent, that Napoleon of crime, no problem has arisen worthy of my talents. But what do I see in this field? A corpse. There is a spirituality about the face which arable farming does not generate. I judge that he was a shepherd. Since you and I are now the only males in existence I deduce that it is my son, Abel. The death-blow was a heavy one that could only have been delivered by a man, and I know that it was not I. We may congratulate ourselves, Cain, on the resolution of a curious, and in some respects unique, case. From the first we were puzzled by the remarkable lack of possible suspects. When you have eliminated the impossible, what remains, however improbable, must be the truth. You, Cain, are the murderer."
"Wonderful!" I ejaculated.
"Commonplace," said Adam.

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