The Brandy of the Damned
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Russell, Penny and Will have not seen each other for twenty years. Why, then, do they spend a month driving around the coast of Britain in a van refusing to listen to music? Why do they find little blue bottles washing up on the shore containing pages from a future Bible? And why is Penny carrying such a huge spade? Funny, surprising and good-hearted, The Brandy of the Damned is a dream-like short novel that leaves the reader strangely grounded and which reveals different things each time it is read. It is the literary equivalent of stepping off the path and heading out into the woods, knowing that if you can't see what's ahead you are never bored. The Brandy of the Damned is a genuinely original story told by a unique voice. It exists in a genre of one.
back of the head with a spade.' 'Which,' I added carefully, 'you don't want to do.' 'Absolutely! It would kill him, and that would be an awful thing to do. But as I say, I was struck with this notion and then he suggested the trip, and I had the spade, so it seemed silly not to come along and bring it. It would be for his own good, after all.' 'What? Being decked by a spade?' I asked. 'Yes. That's the important bit. What I was most struck by was that it would be a good thing for him. I've got
had not missed any chapters. I knew that I would receive them all. I knew that my future stretched out as clear and as defined as my past. As it always has done. And the sun rose. And at that moment, Penny's voice called from the top of the cliff. 'Russell! Will! You'll never guess who's up here!' PART TWO – PENNY: Day 10 (Hill O' Many Stanes) - Day 24 (The Lizard) 15 'Russell! Will! You'll never guess who's up here!' I shouted. For a few months during our final tour, we had
playing this utterly obscure track in the ladies toilet, there seemed a good chance that they would be playing it to the rest of the pub. Where Russell was sitting. 'Well', I thought. 'This is going to be interesting'. I ran through his possible reactions in my head. He may have stood up and walked out the moment it came on, without recognising what it was. This seemed the least troublesome scenario, so I crossed my fingers for it. The other alternatives, I knew, would be more emotionally
good. Coming up!' We watched as he carefully climbed up, bringing the plastic case with him. We then walked back to our van, still in a daze, as if nothing unusual had happened. 25 I remember a scene from my dream that night. Russell was dead. I think I'd killed him but, being a dream, no-one was too concerned about that. We were at his funeral, watching his coffin being lowered into his grave. Then my phone beeped. I looked, and I had a text from Russell. He had texted me from the
curtains and stops the warm air inside from stagnating. It carries the scents from the herb garden and the nearby meadows, scents of late May or early June. They are subtle and gently intermingle with her perfume. We aren't doing anything but resting. We lie entwined on the bed, comfortable enough with both the silence and the position. Penny had often said that our bodies fitted together perfectly, whatever their positions. We are young. There is no pressure to talk, or kiss, or plan. The