Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Morley Callaghan. No Man’s Meat (1931)

     Morley Callaghan. No Man’s Meat (1931) Soft-porn novella originally published in 1931 in Paris in an edition of 525 copies, all signed by Callaghan. Reissued by Stoddart in 1990. A divorced woman visits her friends at their cottage in Muskoka. She plays poker with the husband, loses every hand, and finally bets her virtue. The wife insists that the husband collect the bet, which the friend feels is a matter of honour. It’s not a good experience for either of them. The wife comforts the friend. Next morning, she tells her husband that the friend left her marriage because she cannot stand the touch of a man. Next morning, she drives the friend to the station, and leaves with her. The husband is left alone to ponder the note in which the wife confesses that she loves the friend, and that she will not return.
     Like all of Callaghan’s stories, it’s told in a plain style that distances us from the action while at the same time engaging our imaginations and so our feelings. But it’s not among Callaghan’s best stories, and would not have been reprinted if it had been by another hand. **

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