‘Shot of Short’ #27: What Saffi Knew by Carol Windley

Title: What Saffi Knew by Carol Windley
Date Read: 07 March 2009
Available Online?: YES (as one of the stories posted by Harper Perennial on their website Fifty-Two Stories, which promises a new (or classic) short story from their collection, posted every week throughout 2009)

Briefly: A boy goes missing from a small town on Vancouver Island, and a large search is launched to try and find him. Caught up in the middle of events is seven-year-old Saffi, who discovers something of significance relating to the boy’s disappearance. However, in her discovery she faces the difficult dilemma of how to make herself heard; how to tell the grown-ups what she really knows.

Afterthoughts: When I shouted out during one of my ‘Book Bite’ posts last week that this story was available to read, I mentioned following a quick skim of the first paragraph, that it looked like my kind of a story. I wasn’t wrong, and I can state without fear of contradiction that this is by a mile the best short put out by Fifty-Two Stories so far. It really was an absolute joy to read (if ‘joy’ is the right word to use given the subject matter), because the way in which Windley has constructed the story, fully from the perspective and understanding of a young girl trying to face up to an adult situation, is nothing short of genius. An absolute triumph!

Notable Quote: “When Saffi was in her yard she made a game out of watching for Arthur Daisy to leave in his car, which he did sometimes, not every day, and as soon as he was gone she crawled through a gap in the hedge into his backyard. She knelt in the shade, looking out at the things he kept there…”

Rating: ★★★★½

*Story read as part of my 100 Shots of Short reading challenge.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn’t bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).