Beautiful Words – Nik Perring
Beautiful Words is the latest work from short story writer and children’s author Nik Perring. In many ways, this ten minute read shares a lot of similarities with fiction for small children. It tells a short, concise tale, in a structured but simple format, and it illustrates that story with images that add to the story and suck the reader in. In other ways, though, it is not at all like a children’s book.
The narrative discusses Alexander’s first meeting with Lucy, their burgeoning relationship, and their somewhat mysterious decline and separation. To tell the tale, Alexander chooses 26 ‘beautiful words,’ in alphabetical order, many of which have a loose link to the love he has recently lost. For D, he chooses the word Dravidian, because he met Lucy while she was studying the people and the language. For L, he chooses lisp. Lucy has a lisp, and it is these little things about her that make him love her all the more.
It is when Alexander chooses G for Guddle that we first see the cracks in the relationship. Guddle is a Scottish word, and a way of catching fish, but it can also mean a mix-up or a misunderstanding. Lucy and Alexander experience a guddle one night in a bar.
By the time we’ve made it to the letter Q, Alexander has seen a new girl in the queue at a garden centre. This is pretty much all the reader learns about this girl, but it is this little hint, and many others like it, that make Beautiful Words a clever and successful piece of short fiction.
Any Cop?: Beautiful Words does its job very well. It’s an attractive looking book, an enjoyable read for a quick commute, and clever enough to elevate itself above the childlike format it’s presented in. And Perring picks some great words, too. Some you’ll know, and some you won’t. It’s hard to argue with a book that picks the word ‘fuck’ as its most beautiful F word.