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
Ben returns to Winlock after the death of his father, Wallace. The space-time continuum collapses, however, and he’s given a strange and mysterious gift — to travel back in time before he was born.
Ben, posing as a journalist, spends the weekend with Wallace and is confronted with a difficult choice: support his father’s insanity or walk away, bitter and angry at Wallace’s untimely death.
III. The Composer
A composer agrees to a one-time performance of his newly written composition. After performing what is generally agreed to be the greatest, most complex work ever experienced, the composer turns on his audience and burns the only copy.
Fifty years later, a journalist questioning the authenticity of the apocryphal episode discovers that fiction, is in, fact stranger than reality.
IV. Encyclopedia Codicus
Once upon a time, there was an encyclopedia . . .
V. The Ingenious One: A Biography
The bizarre story of a world-famous footballing manager and the reporter who wrote his biography.