‘A Walk in the Woods’ by Hilary Smith on Necessary Fiction

I’m  going to be packing this week with girl lit – a last burst from the dying star of my residency. Every day this week I want to bring a girl-writer to your attention and today is no exception, so onwards, to Hilary Smith and her strange and beautiful flashes, like mushrooms sprouting, five in a row. Here’s a taste of her piece:


The forest of her childhood was a whirring, humming thing dense with asters and goldenrod and a thousand unnamed plants that twisted and curled and bled sticky juices on one another. As she walked she kept stumbling across the tiny bodies of her friends, shrunk to the size of apples and rolling on the ground. Now and then she would kick one by accident and it would cough up a scent: birdseed and rain, slush and rust, blood and baby powder. Each wave of scent transported her, invoking each friend like a genie in a bottle. Now Ainsley overwhelmed her, who killed a canary by sitting on it, now Frieda, who ate snow.


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