Monday, January 24, 2011

"Goodbye, My Coney Island Baby," by Billy O'Callaghan

This story with its seamless moving third point of view delivers a masterful level of depth. The writer draws a fine line discerning a fragile relationship of two people married to others but who find love between themselves. The reference to the song title evokes a simpler, nostalgic time with the harmony of barbershop quartet in contrast to the tone of loss and the abandonment felt in a Coney Island winter. The story’s strong sense of place offers these adulterous lovers the isolation that they crave from the bustle of Manhattan, and evokes the possibility of an infinite world suggested by the sweeping line from shore to horizon. It’s a compelling read where the writer does not tease with the characters’ future. Instead, the writing takes the reader along the journey where grace finds a way to seal these lives. “Some people see a glass as half full, others see it as half empty. But there is a third group, a small, almost unnoticeable percentage, who want nothing more than the opportunity to quench their burning thirsts.” Enjoy it here at Waccamaw Journal.

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Tree," by Anjie Seewer Reynolds

When I was a kid, many years ago, I loved riding my bike in the neighborhood. In my memory there was a particular hill as being a real leg-pumper; but fifteen or so years later when I returned, the hill barely rose from level ground. It wasn’t that I had grown in height in those intervening years but somehow my experiences had yielded another perspective on the terrain. Revisiting childhood haunts and former experiences may offer surprise, disappointment, and a new perspective. Reynolds’ vignette is powerful in imagery and the narrator’s attempt to recapture youth. Enjoy it here at Writers Workshop Review.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Bearing a Cross," by Joseph Bates

Here’s a story that connects with the tradition of Maupassant, Sherwood Anderson, and Faulkner in the way that small town culture is portrayed as a cautionary tale. Bates’ town of Walhalla, South Carolina reacts to 9/11 with its best intention to govern by theocracy. The first person voice achieves authority throughout with statements such as this referring to the burning towers in NYC: “… you could smell the sulfur burning off her buildings from here.” Regional authenticity in the narrator’s voice entices us into believing the chain of events of this town. But we are given more than the particular with magical insights that resonate beyond Walhalla. Read it here in Issue 2 of Stones Throw .

Thursday, January 6, 2011

"It Was So Many Years Ago," by Amber Krieger

The story centers on Henry, an older man, who happened to have been driving his car on an unlit road when he accidentally killed a man walking in the dark. For over 25 years he has struggled with this memory. Walking through the woods on this day captures Henry’s precarious balancing act through life: “The trail is uneven and each time he steps into a low spot he feels like he is going to topple over.” The deftness of writing draws precisely with a subtle pen linking emotions of isolation and disconnection from experience to experience, and from past to present moment. Read the story here at Carve Magazine.