Two short stories: a thought-provoking reflection on the peculiar nature of grief; and a moving portrait of the tensions between familial loyalty and independent ambition.
In 'Sand', sisters Clara and Lizzie recall an extraordinary childhood trip to the beach with their surly mother who, coming across a wailing boy, had calmly handed him her handkerchief; the sacred relic which she kept in her purse at all times, and which had belonged to her beloved late father, which she had - until that moment - guarded with her life.
In 'Elizabeth', 'There's a world beyond yourself you must break through to,' Elizabeth's mother chides, lest her only daughter inherit her own ill-fate: doomed to scrape by on the bottom rung of society, married to a feckless man who would put his own sense of adventure before his wife's ill-health. Timid Elizabeth is initially terrified by the thought of leaving her insular existence, but when tragedy strikes her family, she resolves to follow her mother's advice and break free.
Part of the Storycuts series, these two short stories were previously published in the collection The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read.