31 Shots of Shock: #7 – ‘The Villa Désirée’ by May Sinclair

*Title: ‘The Villa Désirée’ by May Sinclair
Date Read: 07 October 2010
Available Online?: YES (PDF format)
Briefly: Louis Carson has arranged for his fiancee, Mildred Eve to stay alone at his country house, The Villa Désirée, until he can join her. Thankfully she has friends who stay a short distance down the hill. A good job too because The Villa Désirée has a little secret and it’s not a very pleasant one.
Afterthoughts: This is rather a rambling story from May Sinclair, the British writer to whom the literary term ‘stream of consciousness’ is attributed to. This is not to suggest that ‘The Villa Désirée’ has no form or structure to it because it certainly does. And I’m also not suggesting that the story’s drawn out length makes it unreadable, because it most certainly is. I just mean that it takes a while to get to ‘the action’. The thing is when the story finally does get to ‘the action’ it is genuinely scary but it’s also very short-lived. And this kind of left me feeling as though the reading effort didn’t quite match up to the reward. Not a bad story by any stretch, but blink at the wrong moment and you may well miss the best bit.
Notable Quote: The steep narrow lane went past the Derings’ house and up the face of the hill. It led up into a little olive wood, and above the wood she saw the garden terraces. The sunlight beat in and out of their golden yellow walls. Tier above tier, the blazing terraces rose, holding up their ranks of spindle-stemmed lemon and orange trees. On the topmost terrace the Villa Désirée stood white and hushed between two palms, two tall poles each topped by a head of dark-green, curving, sharp-pointed blades. A gray scrub of olive trees straggled up the hill behind it and on each side.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

*Story read as part of my 31 Shots of Shock 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).