Contemporary Novels and Short Stories by Leela Dutt
Only A Signal Shown
This story has several layers and deep emotional secrets are uncovered. In Alec’s dysfunctional family, his mother clearly despises Eleanor in the beginning and his father suffers from terrible nightmares caused by his fighting in the Monte Cassino campaign during the Second World War. Alec’s brother – the charismatic clown of the family – is a bitter childhood rival but eventually comes to defend him. These and other threads are skilfully drawn together as the novel concludes.
Kate Attfield’s line drawings add enormous charm to this book. The last story, I Shall Spend My Pension on Brandy, has been updated and appears again in my new collection of short stories which Bridge House are publishing next year, 2022, under the title Fresh Beginnings, which will also feature another story from Kingfisher Blue, titled The Ocarina.
The story moves from Golders Green via South Wales to Los Angeles. A Quaker business meeting in Germany in 1936 is interwoven with a Quaker weekend gathering of the mid-1990s as two parallel storylines starting at either end of the century gradually converge.