There was a pear tree in the neighborhood of our vineyard, but the fruit weighing it down offered no draw either in its look or its taste. After playing in vacant lots clear till the dead of night . . . we young men, full of our endless mischief, proceeded to this tree to shake it down and haul away the goods. We filched immense loads, not for our own feasting but for slinging away to swine, if you can believe it. But in fact, we did devour some pears; our only proviso was the potential for liking what was illicit.
Augustine, Confessions II:9
Augustine’s Pear is a collection of short stories. In their folly, they wrestle with time, death, and the labyrinth.
I. The Incredible Life of Mr. Pim
Imagine a world in which people don’t celebrate their birthday, but rather their deathday, a world wherein everyone born knows the day in which they’ll die.
Mr. Pim’s deathdate was March the 21st, thirty-three years after his birthday. Like everyone else, he was supposed to die. But the most remarkable thing happened, Mr. Pim didn’t die, he lived.
II. At the Casket of My Father Space and Time Collapsed
Benjamin returns to Winlock, a small town in Western Washington, after the death of his father. When he wakes in the morning, however, he is no longer in the present.
Benjamin spends one last weekend with his father and mother — a pastor and pianist — as they struggle over a difficult and looming decision.
III. The Composer
IV. Encyclopedia Codicus
V. The Ingenious One: A Biography