‘Shot of Short’ #45: The Drowned Woman by Frances De Pontes Peebles

Title: The Drowned Woman by Frances De Pontes Peebles
Date Read: 07 August 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: The washing up of the body of Lúcia’s grandmother’s nurse, Rita on the beach is the catalyst for the reminiscing of the time that Lúcia had spent with Rita. It’s also a time for reflection, a time for Lúcia to regard family life, and life with those around her.
Afterthoughts: Goodness knows how a story that centres around the washing up of a dead body on the shore can be both charming and endearing, but this one manages to be. Beautifully written by Peebles, this is a story that will definitely stay with me for a long time to come.
Notable Quote: “A small crowd had already formed when we arrived on the sand. My Aunt Anali stood sweating in her black dress and holding a rosary. Aunt Gilmara stood next her, in an almost see-through linen robe, shaking her head. All of my older cousins, Anali’s five sons, crowded at the edge of the water. The Brennand family and their servants huddled around the corpse. She lay on her side, with her bottom arm spread out on the sand. Her legs were bloated, and her skin was a pasty tan. Only the man who sold coconut water dared touch her, feeling for a pulse.”

Rating: ★★★★☆

*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).