Story Title: ‘My Girl’ by Emily Bullock
Collection/Anthology?: Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology 4 (Bristol Review of Books)
Date Read: 8th September 2011
Briefly: Two determined boxers duke it out in the ring. The punches come hard and the blood flies. The battle is so fierce that one can almost smell the testosterone. Except one can’t smell the testosterone, because this isn’t a contest between two men, it’s a boxing match between two women, and holding the corner of one of the women, is a mother.
Afterthoughts: Here it is then, the winner of this year’s Bristol Short Story Prize, penned by PhD student, Emily Bullock. Is it a worthy winner? Absolutely. This is an extraordinary tale, full of blood, sweat and fears (yes, I said fears), and poignant flashbacks to a past which not only reveals why one of these female boxers is in the ring, but why her mother is standing by her.
Bullock fills her story with remarkably vivid descriptions which not only puts the reader in the thick of the action on a ringside seat, but also has him/her wincing at every thrown punch. The story and its setting (for the most part) is dirty, gritty and viscous, but it’s not simply a straightforward tale about boxing. It runs much deeper than that and ultimately, rather than being roused, one leaves the setting of this story feeling a real sense of despair. This ladies and gentlemen is storytelling at its emotional finest (well, almost).
This story was read as part of a review of the Bristol Review of Books Anthology 4. If you want to find out more about this collection then I invite you to pop along to my forethoughts post for this title. I also encourage you to make a trip over to the publisher page for this title.