There are many ‘nice’ things in Claire-Louise Bennett’s fiction. The narrator – she seems to be the same person in all twenty stories – is hardly up in the morning before the nice things press on her: ‘Sometimes a banana with coffee is nice,’ she says in ‘Morning, Noon & Night’. ‘It ought not to be too ripe – in fact there should be a definite remainder of green along the stalk, and if there isn’t, forget about it.’ Oatcakes too are very nice, and pears laid nose to tail and sometimes laced with redcurrants. Porridge also, though not when ‘the day’s too far in’, because late morning porridge is a ‘vertical’ sort of breakfast and will sit solidly on the mind all day. The nice stuff, it seems, is also nice in the sense of precarious: something that can easily pitch her into disarray.
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