Another Peek Inside Tales for Canterbury: “Eggs for Dinner” by Jay Lake
Yes, It’s time for another “peek inside” Tales for Canterbury, this time with a look at Jay Lake’s Eggs for Dinner—and again, this story is from the “Hope” segment of the anthology, which is themed around “Survival”, “Hope” and “Future.”
Jay Lake is one of the international writers who generously contributed to Tales for Canterbury following the February 22nd Christchurch earthquake. Eggs for Dinner is one of the longer stories in the anthology and in many ways presents as convincing contemporary realism—but once you get into the tale the Fantasy element is definitely there. I liked it a lot, particularly the development of the central characters.
Eggs for Dinner
by Jay Lake
Courtney’s life had changed over the years, though never for the better.
Her father left for overseas when she was eight. “Oil,” Mom always said in the years since, but oil came from the earth everywhere – Alaska, the Middle East, Texas – sucked up by pumps like giant mantises praying to the sun-burned grass. Dad left, and only his postcards came back from foreign parts.
After a while even the postcards stopped.
Much later, as Courtney was starting high school, her Grandmother McCandless came to stay. Mom needed to go spend a long time in a cuckoo hospital, talking to doctors about oil and Courtney’s father. Grams didn’t hold with doctors, or much else, but Courtney had nowhere to go. So she ate the same burnt-edged eggs every morning, rode the same bus to school every day, and came home to the same homework and prayers every night, wondering if life would ever get better.
Or when she could run away, too. She would escape, but like her father – free – not like her mother, wandering into crazy. Like him, Courtney would go over the seas, live her life on the water she’d never yet seen.
When Mom finally did return, she was different. Like a postcard of herself, sent in reminder from a distant country.
You can find out how things work out for Courtney by reading the rest of Jay Lake’s Eggs for Dinner in Tales for Canterbury. The Tales for Canterbury anthology of short fiction was put together by Cassie Hart and Anna Caro as a fundraiser for the Red Cross Christchurch Earthquake Appeal. The anthology includes a range of short stories donated by both national and international authors and may be purchased from Random Static here.