Sunday, January 3, 2010

Recommended reading

I don't do this nearly as often as I should - time for a new year's resolution, perhaps? - but since I'm here and you're there, I might as well point you towards an absolutely wondrous example of what "flash" fiction can accomplish at its best. Sharing space with me in the December 2009 edition of decomP magazine is a piece by Dylan Nice called "Some Distance."

With very finely crafted, understated phrases that fall into place like brush-strokes, Nice builds a world, inhabits it with characters that have depth and experience conflict, gives them a history and a belief system, and moves them towards a resolution both luminous and sad; and he does it all with a touch so light you don't know its happening until the last few paragraphs. It's a very controlled, mature piece, the likes of which you just don't see too often. Many writers try for this kind of effect, of course; but more often than not the result is a kind of monotonous deadpan. Not so here. Notice, for example, how much mileage Nice gets out the careful placement of the word "mountain" - a crucial part of the narrative, withheld until the end of the fourth paragraph.

Excellent work - well worth the time to read and re-read.