Marsha's Deal by Laura Solomon

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Marsha's Deal by Laura Solomon

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Category: Short Stories
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: An elegant story of a woman who makes a pact with the devil: a short, darkly humorous read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 65 Date: October 2017
Publisher: Creativa
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1979217446

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Marsha didn't have an easy ride in life the first time around. She'd been afflicted with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, a rare disease which turned parts of her body to bone when they were damaged. Finally she was unable to stand her life any longer and went to Dignitas, the Swiss euthanasia clinic. She'd thought that would be the end, but after cremation her body went straight to hell and she found herself face-to-face with the devil. And that was when she made the pact. In exchange for details about some of those who had been close to her - their strengths and weaknesses - she would be reborn on the same day to the same parents, but would live her life free of disease.

Don't make a deal with the devil, it says on the front cover, and Marsha summed the devil up pretty quickly when she met him, but the chance to live the life she wanted to live was an opportunity she couldn't give up. And the devil was fair: Marsha lived her life free of disease, but it wasn't free of other problems. What would she make of this second chance? But what of the devil? What was in the deal for him? Well, there was sport. He tempted seven humans - Marsha's friends and family, the ones about whom she'd provided information - into committing seven deadly sins in seven days.

It's a short story - I read it in little over an hour and then went back to reread sections I'd particularly enjoyed. Laura Solomon has a real talent for characterisation in just a few words. I wanted Marsha to succeed, to have a good life the second time around, but the character who really caught my attention was the devil, with his casual attempt to seduce Marsha and his utter devilishness. There's remarkably little description, but I had a very clear picture of him in my mind.

The plot's neat too: there's a moral in there but it's not delivered with a heavy hand. It's one of those stories which you mull over and think about long after you've finished reading. Given a chance at living your life again but without that which had constricted the first one, would you give information to the devil? But then we do this sort of thing every day, when we provide information about ourselves and others to faceless beings on the internet. This might be a short story, but there's a great deal of food for thought packed between the covers. Whilst I didn't 'enjoy' the story I really appreciated the way that so few words could push my mind into corners long unvisited and I'd like to thank the author for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

Solomon has written another story about a character facing a dreadful medical condition. Our reviewer really appreciated An Imitation of Life.

We also liked Vera Magpie by Laura Solomon.

The author is very grateful to Kerryn Young for her invaluable assistance in writing this novel.

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Buy Marsha's Deal by Laura Solomon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Marsha's Deal by Laura Solomon at


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