On John Collier’s Stories

John Collier’s story ‘The Lady on the Grey’, about a young witch and the way she dispatches two rakes with magic, has been drifting through my head all day.

Collier’s stories are short and very finely written. The one I read today, ‘Without Benefit of Galsworthy’, was only a few pages, but the characterization and the pace of the first person narrative matched each other perfectly. The story was about a self-centred, ridiculously vain Major who only followed the advice of people who agreed with him, thought himself so marvellously poetic, and on a whim decided to divorce his wife and lose everything for the hint of a female servant who in his imagination was his perfect match, but who had no interest in him whatsoever.

I’d recommend anyone interested in short stories to buy his collection ‘Fancies and Goodnights’. Hopefully the publishers won’t mind me using the cover here:



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