Love Island

John Lanchester

When Iona woke up in the house she knew where she was straightaway, and she knew she was alone. There was none of that blurry intermediate state of semi-consciousness that people usually get when they’re in an unfamiliar place. Everything about the bed, the clean low modern furniture, the white painted walls, the angled light coming in through the edges of the blackout blinds – it was all crisp and distinct. She stretched and yawned and put her feet on the bare but warm floor. She was wearing her second-best sleeping shorts and some long-forgotten ex’s heavily faded Ramones T-shirt. It was a low bed, the kind that older people find it hard to straighten up from. But Iona was not old. Her mouth tasted fresh. She couldn’t smell her own breath, nobody can, but she could tell that if she were able to, it would smell sweet. The bathroom was en suite. She padded across to it and surveyed the unbranded but obviously fancy modern toiletries. Fine. She did what she had to do to be ready for the day. She checked herself out in the mirror. Good: as often when she’d just woken up, she had perfect bedhead. It was known to be one of her best looks.

The full text of this fiction is only available to subscribers of the London Review of Books.

You are not logged in