- Helen Dunmore - Orange Prize winner - Novels - Talking to the Dead - Extract
Helen Dunmore
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Talking to the Dead / Extract
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People idling through graveyards always stop by the graves of the young. Hundreds of miles from here there’s another grave with the same surname on it as yours, a tiny grave in a steep cemetery above the sea. There’s a path through the cemetery which tourists use as a short cut down to the beach. They stop, read the inscription, the name and dates, and the two lines of poetry. Often there’s a jamjar of flowers left on the grave. If the women have children with them, they’ll grasp their hands tightly as they walk on. I haven't been there for years. None of us put those white daisies in the jar. Or did you? Did you leave those flowers there, and then stand looking down for a long time, thinking thoughts it’s too late to uncover now?

I can almost see you. If I turn my head to the black splash of shade under the yew, now, quickly, I’m certain I’ll see you. It’s noon, the white hour when ghosts walk, leaving no shadow. But I don’t turn my head.

The Lie
The Greatcoat
The Betrayal
Counting the Stars
House of Orphans
Mourning Ruby
The Siege
With Your Crooked Heart
Your Blue-Eyed Boy
Talking to the Dead
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- Extract
A Spell of Winter
Burning Bright
Zennor in Darkness
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