Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Two Years," by Tim Johnston

The back-story here centers on a child kidnapping, a context that taps into contemporary fears in this country, and the mountain setting suggests the West. This is a dark tale whose gift is the portrait of a character experiencing loss and feeling powerless against an indifferent landscape. The style evokes harsh realism reminiscent of a Cormac McCarthy story. Here’s an example of the lyrical tone and the prevailing motif of ‘watching’: “He checked again with the road, and again looked out over the gorge . . . all the way down the pass like this, looking, looking, until at last he reached the small resort town that lay in the narrow mountain valley like a tongue in the mouth of a wolf.” The novelistic scope succeeds through scenes that are exquisitely chosen to develop the reader’s empathy for the main character. Read it here in Narrative Magazine.

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