Two Hundred Years Ago We Would Have Been Dead By Now


The shorter pieces come from something more visceral.

Author Louise Mangos knows sometimes a creative job is like a marathon, but she wouldn’t have made it as far as she has without her training in short pieces of fiction. In her piece for 100 Voices For 100 Years Louise reads her story ‘Two Hundred Years Ago We Would Have Been Dead By Now’ a powerful piece about womanhood, desire and all the life in between.

Louise Mangos is an author who splits her time between the UK and Switzerland. She writes novels, short stories and flash fiction, which have won prizes, placed on shortlists, and been read out on BBC radio. She has achieved an MA from the prestigious UEA and her debut psychological thriller ‘Strangers on a Bridge’ will be published by HQDigital (Harper Collins) in July 2018. She compares the completion of a novel to running a marathon or raising a family, both of which she has also happily achieved. Louise is on Facebook and Twitter @LouiseMangos. Her website has links to more of her stories.

Transcript below:

Two Hundred Years Ago We Would Have Been Dead By Now

After many years of writing, it’s going to be a big thrill to see my debut novel published with Harper Collins in July this year. I can compare this achievement to running a marathon or raising a family. It takes a lot of energy and you can never give up. But my journey to publication would not have been possible without the ability to hone and perfect smaller pieces of writing – tiny stories in the form of flash fiction.

Much of my fiction contains morsels of my life, whether it’s the settings, or the people I meet, but the shorter pieces come from something more visceral, the strength of emotions and reactions. The piece I am about to read was long listed for the Autumn 2017 Reflex Fiction competition and will be published in their upcoming anthology. It generated a huge connection of women on Twitter who have been going through similar stages of their mature lives.

The piece is entitled ‘Two Hundred Years Ago We Would Have Been Dead By Now’


Louise Mangos

Forty years of twisting hands inside her belly, dragging at her guts for five days every month, as regular as a Swiss train.

Three natural births, each round head inherited from their high-browed father, burning as they crowned, leaving their imprints on her cervix and her memory like the sear of a cattle brand.

Five years of crimson flames rising from her breasts to wrap around her throat like a hungry serpent. Five years of the softening of flesh between her hips where she used to be as flat as a carpenter’s bench. Five years pressing her cheek against the cold glass of windowpanes, and grabbing menus from passing waiters to use as fans. Five years peeling herself from sodden bed sheets, and standing naked in front of the open fridge in the middle of the night. 

But most of all, it’s the darkness in her head, the illogical anger and inexplicable shame. She spirals down, this feeling that her life is over. He no longer looks at her with hunger in his eyes. Someone needs to catch her in a safety net and persuade her that there is something worth living for.