Tag Archives: caine prize

What Molly knew by Tim Keegan

8 Aug

This is one of the stories nominated for the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing. Molly is a middle aged white woman in South Africa married to an abusive and alcoholic husband, Rollo. He is a man who has a multitude of expectations from his wife:

There were things he expected from a wife, and crying and complaining and carrying on weren’t amongst them.

He always expected dinner to be ready when he came.

To add insult to injury, her daughter, Sarah, has just been murdered.

It is interesting that the first suspect is Tommie, Sarah’s husband. Molly comes to the conclusion that it has to be him, otherwise who else would it be? Sarh had no enemies, she reasons. Now, Sarah married Tommie against her mother’s and Rollo’s wishes. It so turns out that Tommie is from Mozambique and also a psychologist who knows “how to convince people”.

Initially, I sympathised with Molly because, hey, loosing an only child is not easy. Later on however, I sort of got angry at her for her “what can I do attitude”. First of all, she stays in an abusive marriage because she has nowhere else to go. The night she tells him of her daughter’s murder, he is so unfeeling as to be unable even to console his wife. (Sarah is not his daughter). Later on, she mentions that she would like to go to a memorial service for Sarah because it might be the only chance to say goodbye to her. His reaction?

Rollo snorted, stuffing pork sausage into his mouth, washing it down with a Castle straight from the bottle, but didn’t say anything more.

My anger peaked when she finds a letter in the garbage incriminating Rollo in the crime. Since, she doesn’t want to “upset” her life, she calmly takes it and burns it and proceeds to fix dinner and wait for Rollo, just like she had always done!

I’m hoping that the rest of the stories in the book To see the mountain and other stories will help abate the anger and frustration inside!