Publication Date: July 6, 2014
A trio of darkly funny stories dealing with life, death and the life to come after. The three short stories were originally written for and submitted to the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge.
The author, Julie Frayn, gave me a copy of this trilogy of short stories in exchange for my review.
I am a big fan of Julie Frayn. Her writing style is easy and classic. Her narrative flows like water on the page and there’s nary an error to be found in any of her published work. Unlike her other stories, the stories of [easyazon-link asin=”B00LLJGINC” locale=”us”]Two Wins and an Honourable Mention[/easyazon-link] are written is a style reminiscent of Flannary O’Connor’s Southern Gothic.
The first story, “End of the Line,” is about a Gordon Fisk. True to the Southern Gothic tradition, Gordon is a man socially isolated by his filth and stench and, while lonely, he seems to prefer his routine. For the course of this story we are with Gordon as he goes about his nightly routine and by his side when people with negative intent invade his space in a flurry of violence and gunfire. What will Gordon do? Is he to be a participant or observer in this story? Frayn is an author who takes risks with her characters so his participation in the story is not guaranteed but what plays out is a perfect ballet of what is meant to be.
“The Final Bow” is the story of Adrienne, Gabriel and Emmett. It breaks my heart as a reader to say this, but for the majority of the story, I did not enjoy this one. Adrienne and Emmett are musicians. Adrienne is interested in Emmett romantically but standing in her way is Gabriel, the ghost who haunts her house. As with Frayn’s other stories, it’s very well written, but I could not connect with the characters. They were over the top out of a Gothic painting and somewhat predictable. The end of the story though—the end of the story was wonderful. Despite my distaste for the characters I wanted the story to continue. I wanted to know what happened with the characters and where they went from the moment of snapping strings to leaving the house.
The final story “God Damn, The Fisherman” was inspired. It was “Hannibal” with humor. When your kills are being attributed to another serial killer, what do you do? That killer has no style, grace or taste. How dare the media give the attention he’s owed to the other serial killer. We are in The Baker’s head for much of the story and it is a scary and horrible place. “God Damn, The Fisherman” was my favorite of the three in that it was uniquely light while remaining very dark. The style in which it was written while rivetingly gory was so engaging that when finished I wondered when Frayn would release the rest of this book. I must read more![easyazon-link asin=”B00LLJGINC” locale=”us”] showed me a new level in Frayn’s writing and I loved it. This is a wonderful trio of short stories.
Further reviews of books by Julie Frayn: Click here to read my review of Suicide City, a Love Story, a book that I listed as one of the Best of 2013. Click here to read my review of It Isn’t Cheating if He’s Dead. Click here to read my review of Maize Baby.