Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"Duffers of the Apocalypse"/Heartsick

Lotta stuff to read this week, including a draft chapter of a novel by a guy I'll call "S," (because his name is Sam.) More on the draft later, what I really want to write about here and now are Victor Gischler's short story and Chelsea Cain's novel, both of which I CONSUMED very recently. "Duffers" is, shockingly, about golf and the apocalypse. I don't know why I expected the title to be metaphorical. Neither is a subject that attracts me, although I am hugely amused by amazon.com's exhortations to "explore the apocalyptic community" whenever you pull up Gischler's novels. But back to the story--despite my low level interest, Gischler's prose is

I stop here to remind the world that I am a rabid fan of Poe's unity of effect and all it's repercussions (I can see "S" wincing), and I am religious concerning how a short story is read. Poe tells us that reading a short tale should be an uninterrupted experience. Students often interpret this as an instruction to the reader, but really it is the writer's responsibility to create an object that captures the reader and holds her for the duration--making discipline unnecessary.

--Gischler's prose is immediately riveting. I saw that when I printed the freebie and read the first line. So I saved it for a hostage situation. Waiting room at the doctor's office today. Fox TV blaring. Repulsive sick people. Perfection. I'm not sure one should read this story in any other setting. When the worms kick in the drama really starts to rock. I left the pages in a dog eared copy of Golf Digest.

Tana French's sequel to In the Woods is just out, but Chelsea Cain's Heartsick has already done the job for me. This book needs no promo from me so I'll just say that from a writing pov, I was intrigued that the big hot-sick scene actually happens at the end, and not two thirds of the way through which is the way so many pervy thrillers play out. What that means is that book actually has a cool ending. I never say that. Caveat: whole lotta pawwp psychology goin' on.

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