The Righteous Government

The Righteous Government

Verity Kaye

Short Stories / LGBT / Young Adult

A zealous government tries to use one lover against another for information. But when that fails, the government proves they still have the upper hand.Conan Burke’s childhood is curious. He is born in Bootle in 1920 to a couple who marry in haste. His Belgian mother suffers from long cyclical depressions and Conan spends half of his childhood in the care of his maternal grandmother in Brussels. He proves to be an unusual, single-minded child who is obsessed with language. He develops a special talent for recognising accents and learns to pinpoint a speaker's birthplace by the sound of their voice. When his mother dies prematurely, he finds himself free to roam the north of England on his bike, all the while honing his linguistic skills. He is earnest and undeviating in his obsession and there are hints of how his compulsive behaviour will make his grown-up life difficult, singular and sometimes absurd. Nowadays he might well be diagnosed as suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome. By the 1960s Conan has become a radio personality and university lecturer in Romance Linguistics attached to a Department of Spanish somewhere in the North of England. When his marriage fails because his wife can no longer stand his unreasonable and often ludicrous obsessive behaviour he decides he will try to change in order to win her back. He wishes he could become more romantic and imaginative instead of being so cold and factual. So, during the summer vacation he embarks upon a journey to Galicia in north-west Spain, hoping that a pilgrimage to this rural cradle of magical realism might wondrously transform his notoriously concrete thinking. The tale is narrated by his daughter Jennifer, who accompanies him on the journey. She grounds him, rescues him and protects him, jealously guarding him from the predatory attentions of an academic girlfriend who takes advantage of his lack of worldliness and attempts to rob him of his chance discovery of a literary and anthropological find.
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