Fortune Box: Madeleine Swann

Seriously, the airline wanted £5 (that’s about $250) for a fucking 330ml can of Punk IPA. Now, I like Punk IPA, but at £5 a can that’s around £9.50 for a pint. I don’t mind airlines stronging it a bit on price; after all, they have to subsidise the piss-stained seats and the aggressive stewardesses somehow, but that’s taking liberties and no mistake.

As if that wasn’t enough, the plane was an old prop-based one and the noise was unbelievable. Still, a least it drowned out the farting and gurgling of the main in the offensive smelling raincoat who was wedged into the spot next to me.

To pass the time, I had a copy of Fortune Box by Madeleine Swann. I was in a foul mood and I was paying more money for warm beer than it would have costed to purchase a bag of top grade heroin, so poor old Madeleine (she’s not old; well, she might be, but I don’t think she’s incontinent yet) really had her work cut out.

Fortune Box is a collection of short stories, based around mysterious packages being delivered by a mysterious company containing mysterious items. Yes: it’s mysterious. As I read, the depth of mysteriousness grew, and I even commented to the farting raincoat about the mysteriousness. He was asleep, but at that moment I hated him and wished I had the miniature trap that … no; you’ll have to read the book to find out what the minature trap does.

Anyway, back to the Fortune Box. As with any collection, there are some stories that are stronger than others, but there’s not what I would call a ‘duff’ story in there. Here’s the interesting thing: I did think a few of them were a bit slow, but afterwards, as I suffered the three hour journey home from the airport, I kept thinking about the slower ones that hadn’t initially grabbed me. They crept up on me, sneaking into my thoughts and giving me the needle.

To be honest, had I rated Fortune Box as I struggled off the plane, I might have gone for a mere three ape heads. As I journeyed home on the public transport (transport which allows the public on, so they can do public things), I might have given it four ape heads. However, a few days later, I really think it deserves four and a half ape heads.

Fortune Box is subtle, and as such it’s best not to read it all in one go whilst downing expensive warm beer sat next to a farting raincoat of misery. Sip the stories, like a fine wine, and you’ll be rewarded.


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