Thursday, January 31, 2008

GUD's special promotion

To promote issue 2 of GUD, they've sent a randomly selected story or poem from the issue to each person who has an account with them. My story was "Freight" by Joseph Love.

It's the story of a young boy, rural-poor, who's returning from the store with food. An old man with a bike offers to give him a ride home, and the family ends up inviting him in to join them for the meal, even though they don't have much. There's a feel of Southern fantastic to this. What's the word...Southern gothic. The grotesque. There's something absurd in the characters of the boy's family, and a wide-eyed acceptance that this is simply how people are in the narration (through the eyes of the boy). That's definitely the strength of the story, this vaguely unsettling presentation of poor, rural life (the dialogue is the only thing that seemed intended to indicate the story's Southern-ness...and even there, it wasn't so different from the speech of some people in West Michigan I heard growing up, so it seems to me more of a general rural-poor gothic than specifically Southern). It creates a strange and intriguing picture.

The shape of the story seemed its weakness to me--the ending didn't seem to fit well with the rest of the story. It sort of pointed toward a completely different direction the character would soon take that wasn't really a part of the story before while leaving others matters within the story unresolved. I tend to lean more toward the literary end of things with my tastes, but even so that seems to be a pattern with a certain style of literary stories, ie that I find things left too unresolved, the ending not quite right for the story (yes, and I've mentioned on my blog before that others especially more firmly in genre sometimes comment the same about my stories being too unresolved or hinting too obliquely at their resolutions...) so that could simply be me and not a fault of the story.

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