Snow Monkey

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Our short story of the week is a story about nature by Carol Farrelly.

Carol Farrelly is a fiction writer. She is currently working on a collection of short stories and a novel. She holds a DPhil on Thomas Hardy’s fiction. She lived for one gloriously dreamy year in Italy and is in love with all things Venetian.

Her novel, This Starling Flock, was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize in 2018. She was previously awarded a Jerwood/Arvon mentorship, a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship and a Scottish Book Trust New Writer’s Award. Her short stories have been widely published in journals such as Stand and The Irish Times, broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, Fish Prize, RA & Pin Drop Short Story Award and, most recently, the Society of Authors’ ACLS Tom-Gallon Trust Award.

Snow Monkey follows a woman figuring out her relationship to motherhood, with help from the animal kingdom.

Enjoy!

The snow monkey groomed her baby into baldness. Pluck, pluck, pluck – as though every soft, honey-brown hair were a tick or a tangle. She only stopped when asleep or eating; and she always resumed as soon as she caught sight of the other monkeys’ neat babies. Pluck, pluck, pluck.

Elise came to the wildlife park every weekend to watch those compulsive fingers. Once, she asked an animal keeper if there was anything they could do to calm this anxious first-time mother, and the keeper shook her head. This, she said, was the first rule of the wildlife park. This was the keepers’ oath: never interfere. Provide only shelter and food. Administer medicines and darts, if required. Do not nurse or cuddle or foster, however heartsore you feel. Intervention is self-indulgence. We are here to host, to return the land we stole from them – no more. Let nature take its course.

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