The car winds between steep fields that sweep down, green, to meet the road. The high sides of hills make corners you can’t see around. The sun’s out, but everything’s still soaking, the road steaming. Lucy presses the button and the window glass moves down, widens the gap, lets in damp fresh air.
‘Go right, up ahead.’
After ten long days and nights of rain they’re off for a drive, to see some church.
In Tracy Farr’s award-winning short story ‘Once had me’, a drive in the country leads to a fairytale church, and a teenager coming to terms with her father’s new life.
Quotes and reviews
…the tone is perfectly pitched between confidence (at times bordering on affectionate scorn for adults) and pure naivety…with a heightened reality which at times borders on almost foreboding, raising this coming-of-age story above the ordinary.
—Sarah Quigley (judge, 2014 Sunday Star-Times Short Story Award)
Each time I read it I was struck again by the confidence of the narrative voice, deceptively casual and colloquial, yet displaying an unfaltering authorial control.
Winner, 2014 Sunday Star-Times Short Story Award
- ‘Once had me’ was published in Sunday Star-Times, 30 November 2014 –
read ‘Once had me’ online, or read the illustrated story as a pdf
- ‘Once had me’ was the story for discussion on RNZ Short Story Club on 27 July 2017 – read it online at Penguin Random House NZ (and listen to the discussion below)