A Can of Worms and other stories
by Jan Mark.
Red Fox, 1992 (1990).
“Once I’ve finished a book that’s all I wanted to say about those people in that situation, I might, I very often do wish I’d written it differently, but I never want to write more.”https://janmark.net/talking-to-jan-mark-neil-philip-march-1983/
In this septet of tales by the late Jan Mark she explores the world as experienced by seven British teens still of school age: in the narratives the youngsters reveal their hopes and fears, their obsessions and yearnings, how they might occupy their free time and cope with family situations. School and homework may demand their attention but it’s their imaginative endeavours that we observe.
And each and every one is a standalone tale. Book or short story, her well-delineated individuals appear once and once only because she’ll have said all she wants to say about them and the particular situation they find themselves in.
But, for us readers, it’s enough that – however briefly – we share those aspirations or disappointments, and sympathise or even empathise with each youngster, be we of the same age or somewhat older, perhaps with more jaded personalities or a more jaundiced view of life: it’s salutary then to remind oneself of the feelings we may once have had on the threshold of our adult lives.Continue reading “Seven inventive plots”