Monday, April 23, 2012

"Tractor Incident," by Eric Ramseier

Sometimes we dread life’s demands. Wishing away events that challenge our daily routines can consume a lot of time and thought. That’s how we find this character when a dust cloud envelops him and his truck after slamming the brakes.  He wished it were a cloud of locusts consuming “whatever occupied the ground”  instead of surrounding him.  But what he cannot escape is witnessing is an over-turned tractor and underneath it an injured boy. The strength of the story is the close point of view and associative leaps.  After placing the boy in the back of his pickup, he wants no part of this event hoping the boy would “fly out without a trace.”  The story takes an interesting perspective on how he comes to terms with the reality of what life delivers. Read it here at Switchback.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

"A League of Pity," by Louise Beech

No one wants to be pitied. The two characters in this story have all that it takes to draw that demeaning sentiment from others.  On the one hand, the story is realistic in the way the protagonist is portrayed with her grief and anger. Spoken dialogue and internal thought are masterly woven in the writing.  An itinerant vendor of tea (this is England) bridges the real with the super real. He is magical in his physical deformity and spiritual profundity. There’s a delicious ambivalence of fairy tale that works here.  Read it at On the Premises here.