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Dialogue behind a Curtain

Short Story (2,100 words)

One of Canning's best short stories, closely related in date and subject matter to his novel A Forest of Eyes. It is set in a nameless country which is, presumably, Yugoslavia. The Great Man (Tito?) interrogates a fisherman, Tasso, suspected of smuggling. He catches him out in a lie, but releases him on the grounds that one day he might himself need a friend on that island with a boat.

The incident which may have inspired this story is narrated in "You are a Spy". A related story is "Portrait of a Leader".

Lilliput, July 1951.
Reprinted in Magpie, the complete story magazine, Vol 2, No 10, January, 1953.
Reprinted as “The Smuggler” in Pageant (USA), September 1954.
Included in Patterns of Literature: America Reads ed. Farrell, Clapp and Kuehner, 1989, Scott Foresman.
Read on BBC Home Service, 9:30 a.m. on 26 July 1955

Included in the now discontinued collection Italy and the Balkans, edited by John Higgins,, 2010.
Included in the collection The Aberdyll Onion and other mysteries, Farrago Books, 2020.