“Tales for Canterbury”: A Peek Inside “The Magician” by Janis Freegard
On June 23, I published the first “peek inside” Tales for Canterbury, an anthology of short fiction put together by Cassie Hart and Anna Caro and divided into three sections: Survival — Hope — Future. The anthology includes a range of short stories donated by both national and international authors as a fundraiser for the Red Cross Christchurch Earthquake Appeal.
The “peek inside” involves featuring the first paragraph ‘or so’ (if the paras are very short, but within the bounds of fair use) of some of the stories over the next while. I do hope it will encourage readers to not just take my word for Tales for Canterbury’s quality but also to give it a try for themselves.
I began with my own short contribution, The Fountain, which appears in the Hope section of the anthology and followed it on July 7 with Tim Jones’ “Sign of the Tui.” Today I am continuing with another short story from the Hope section, Janis Freegard’s magic-realism short story, The Magician.
His loft is fluttering with doves; the garden shed is overrun with white rabbits (never lift them by their delicate ears); he has an upstairs dresser overflowing with a rainbow of silk scarves. But the magician is sighing.
He stands at his attic window looking out over the seascape he loves, the fishing boats, the little offshore island. I need to get away, he thinks. I need to get the magic back.
Carefully he folds his six best suits into a brown leather trunk: the electric blue suit, the burnt umber suit, the black suit with gold thread, the silver glitter suit, the suit made of Astroturf, the suit decorated with images of fruit. He telephones his strange, solitary neighbour to ask her to feed and pat the animals (hears her husky whisper, “Yes.”). Looking distracted, he revs up the sparkling white Beemer in his garage and drives
the length of the dusty lane to the village railway station.
He has been a magician for thirty-six years, since that Christmas when his grandmother bought him a Junior Magic Set and he set about entertaining his admiring family with a disappearing Ace of Spades and a wand that bent double.
Now he needs a new trick.
To read more, of both The Magician and the very many other great stories comprising Tales for Canterbury, and support the Christchurch earthquake recovery effort, consider purchasing your own electronic or hard copy edition of Tales for Canterbury, here.
To learn more about Janis Freegard and her writing, you can check out her blog, here.