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  • Published: 16 June 2021
  • ISBN: 9780143774839
  • Imprint: RHNZ Vintage
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $36.00

The Author's Cut

Short Stories

Extract

The world is divided between you and me, you and me babee, you and me. The world is divided between those who laugh on the inward, and those on the outward breath; between those who say at this point in time, and those who say that it does appear to be the case.

The world is divided between the superstitious, and the unimaginative; between those who love men, and those who love women; between those who have witnessed Björn Borg’s top-spin, and those who have lost the chance; between the exemplary, and the few of us who are left.

The world is divided into those who appreciate Jane Austen, and fools. The world is divided between the apathy of ignorant youth, and the despair of incorrigible old age. The world is divided between those who blame Lucifer, and those who blame a lack of dietary fibre; between mediocrity, and its own evolution; between the overworked, and the unemployed; between those who have a daughter, and those denied the greatest blessings.

The world is divided between those who say they adore the country and never go there, and those who say they hate the city and never leave it. The world is divided in the beginning, on all sides, and before God. The world is divided between those we betray, and those who betray us; between those who wake in the darkness with tears, and those too drugged to dream; between those who will not stand a dripping tap, and those who are moderate men. The world is divided among those who deserve it, but not often and not enough.

The world is divided between those who realise their own value, and those who think they may still amount to something; between those who prefer quiz shows, and those who still await their frontal lobotomy; between the old which has lost its edge, and the new which has not been tested; between indecision, and hypocrisy; between feeble vacillation, and energetic error; between cup, and lip. The world is divided between those who understood the significance of Randolph Scott, and the new generation.

The world is divided between those who know nothing smoother than satin, and those who know a woman’s thigh. The world is divided between the meek who will inherit the earth, and the strong who will dispossess them of it; between those who believe that they are essentially alone, and those who will be convinced with time; between Sadducees and Pharisees, Hannibal and Hasdrubal, Shaka and Dingane, Dracula and the Wolfman.

The world is divided between those who make a profession of software and prosper, and those who say they recall garlands, mole-catchers and stone walls. The world is divided between silver spoons, and macrocarpa childhoods; between the appalling, and the appalled; between consenting adults; between the devil, and the deep big C; between honest toiling forwards, and flashy temperamental backs; between those who help others, and those prepared to let nature take their course.

The world is divided between those who have owned a Triumph 2000, and philistines; between those who have had sex, and those prepared to give it another try; between those who remember the old school haka, and those who attend no reunions even in the mind. The world is divided between those who have a favourite corduroy coat, and those with no affection for habit. The world is divided between those who maintain the distinction between further and farther, and those who compromise with usage; between those who have attended universities, and those who have been inwardly disappointed in other ways; between animals who know only joy and pain, and we who can visualise our own deaths. The world is divided between those who can roll their tongues, and those with more archaic genes. The world is divided between those who should know better.

The world is divided between the Greeks and their gods, and the Trojans who would otherwise have won; between the Green Mountain Boys, and the Black Mountain Boys; between those who gargle in a stranger’s bathroom, and those with acquired delicacy; between the undiscerning undistinguished undeserving mass, and us. The world is divided into the states of Jeopardy and Paranoia, Halidom and Dugong, Condominium and the Tribal Lands, all of these, none of these. The world is divided between those who try themselves, and those who seek a less corrupt judge.

The world is divided between those who are tolerant and wise, and their husbands. The world is divided between those in authority, and those resentful of it; between those who are white, and those whose virtues are not so immediately apparent; between those who face the world with a religion, and those who wish to but have only irony in its place. The world is divided between those who have shifted to the North Island, and those passed over for promotion; between one thing and another if distinctions should be made; between tolerant contempt of the artist, and awe of the Cactus and Succulent Society’s president. The world is divided between a lawyer and his client, but not equally or per se.

The world is divided between those people whose character is known, and those from whom something may still be expected. The world is divided between rancour and disgust, idolatry and idiocy, ballet and bidet, Sordello and Bordello, Bishop Blougram’s and Prufrock’s apologies. The world is divided between the first and the last; between a man and a woman; between sun and moon; stoics and epicureans; scholards and dullards; the fragrance of mint in the riverbeds and desolate clay. The world is divided between Lucky Jims, and those who see no humour in it; between professed intentions, and the things we would wish undone; between nostalgic falsehood, and anticipatory regret; between dreams of avarice, and visions of self-esteem.

The world is divided between the vices of free will, and the virtues of necessity; between those who know where be Wold Jar the tinker, and those cast into darkness; between those who delight in games, and those who lack even that saving grace; between Tyrannosaurus rex, and civilised marriages; between New Zealanders, and those people with a culture; between our adult selves, and the blue remembered hills.

The world is divided between those who boast of their climate, and those who rejoice in secret that a cold wind isolates a landscape. The world is divided between those who accept the division, and those who instigated it; between books on the Royal Family or gardens, and the remaining ten per cent of publishers’ products; between those who are proud, and those who have lost their self-respect and so become the most dangerous of men. The world is divided on the merits of everything; on all questions raised (at this point in time). The world is divided between optimism, and Mr Weston’s good wine; between those who see, and those who understand; between confiding voluble people, and those we wish to know; between those on the inside looking out, and those on the outside looking in.

The world is divided between men who despise others for being what they are, and women who despise them for what they are not. The world is divided between those anxious concerning the physical, and those in terror of the mind; between those who love sausages and onions, and those who are effete; between the people we always suspected, and the butlers who did it; between idlers, and those who work hard all their lives to be able to do nothing when they die.

The world is divided between the few now, and the great majority on the other side. The world is divided above all, while we sleep, beneath our noses, and before we notice. The world is divided as we are all divided. The world is divided between you and me, you and me for a time, you and me.


The Author's Cut Owen Marshall

A new selection of absorbing stories from a long and distinguished career.

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