6 thoughts on “The Message: Philippa Holloway – The Violet Eye: Mike Fox

    • “He hoped more, he feared more.”

      A poignant nine pager, about a man and his life-purposeful hobby of homing pigeons, with the man’s own instinct of a ‘homing instinct’ that lingers, perhaps ironically, upon a yearning for a life still to be what it was before his wife had left him, left him because, outwardly at least, of her attitude to the relentless “bird shit and sawdust” the husband brought into the kitchen on his feet. She’d left before and come back. Telling relationship with his young son (whom his mother wants to follow her and live with her) as the father continues, in the meantime, to tutor the son (and now us) about the lore of racing homing pigeons, with the superstition or suspicion of truth that one with a violet eye is always to be a champion. imageI learnt a lot about this in such a deceptively short story’s long journey as they raced the pigeons in North Scotland where the father lives. The outcome of the marriage and its implications will not be easily forgotten by anyone who reads this story, and I cannot tell you about it here, in case you take off the wrong ring when it comes home to you. (I was further emotionally intrigued because of my earlier encounter with a fiction in which homing pigeon lore became significant for me here, such a memory just now giving me a bonus prize of chance enhancement to the Violet Eye.)

    • “You just said ‘it has to mean something.’”

      Except the mother’s small son — sensitive and often asking naive, hard-to-answer questions as children do — only hears her (or thinks he hears her) whisper what he says she said. The text gives no evidence of her saying it, whilst it gives us everything else she says to him, as they discover that a strangely unclassifiable bird has infiltrated their house, a house new to them, with its own novelty of sounds, making them unsure that it was a bird until they became sure by evidence of its presence on the bed in a bedroom, not trapped in the chimney after all. The mother is a cautious pre-planner in this 11-pager, waiting for her husband and the boy’s father who is late homing home from work in the rush-hour traffic, I assume. They query the “message” of the bird itself or as carried by the bird, the flight path signature of its arrival, I guess in a whisper, and, belying his own naivety as a child, the son mentions the word ‘symbolism’. I find myself trapped by this story, making my own inferences, and I hope I don’t crash into its window of entry because it is still closed or once I get in, I hope they will let me out by opening that window again. “The traffic is murder”, the father says on his eventual arrival home, but that does not carry the message of this story. That is an obvious decoy. You will have to fly into it on your own wings to find out. Any suspicion of truth or superstition of poop or fatal omen, notwithstanding.

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