Title: Till They Dropped
Author: Sue Knight
Publisher: Fantastic Books Publishing
Consumerism, greed and coming-of-age; this short-story, edging on novella, is a unique and intelligent narrative about a young girl called Emily who finds herself trapped in a shopping centre. As closing time draws near, panic sets in and Emily must find a way to escape back home. I got the sense that Emily was being punished or at least warned for her excessive spending and I’d consider this to fall under the umbrella of magic realism; strange voices and talking teddy bears are seemingly a part of reality, though it is uncertain whether it is all part of a child’s dream.
This was a quick read of only forty-two pages, however, I found myself re-reading a second and third time, to fully appreciate the concept that Sue is conveying. I felt a sense of unease, like when Alice falls into wonderland and nothing seems quite right. There is talk of the Mechanism, Nothingness and Death, which followed after the War and the story is clouded with a sense of foreboding.
I really loved the way this novella made me think. It didn’t lay everything out on a plate for me and I feel my interpretation is one of many. Each character is perhaps symbolic of certain parts of society, for example, Dee, one of Emily’s dolls, is obsessed with her clothes and fashion, despite the prospect of imminent death closing in on her.
This little story is well worth a read; for its intelligence, its writing style, its thought provoking concepts and the chills that might run up your spine. What will happen when we have finally consumed everything that is left of the world?