Saturday, December 11, 2004

Over There

"Over There" by Gary Warren Niebuhr, Hardluck Stories, Fall 2004

Damn!

I think that bears repeating: Damn!

If this story doesn't hit one of the "Best Of" anthologies next year, I'll eat my hat. And it's a big, dirty hat. Just look at my picture, and you'll know what I mean.

I'm having a hard time coming up with words for this one.

The characters are so well drawn with so little (apparent) effort that I felt like I knew them. Mr. Niebuhr spends only a few sentences with Old Mrs. Jobim, but those sentences make her a living, breathing human being. And the relationship between Mrs. Jobim and her son, I could feel that as fully as I could have had I been standing there with them.

I especially liked the scenes sitting in the porch swing. I grew up in country like that, where every conversation, no matter how important, started off with the feeling that there really was no hurry. Made me feel nostalgic.

I also liked the way Mr. Niebuhr brought the personal life of the detective into the story. This could have been any detective with any personal life, or none at all. But the way his life connected with the Jobims' elevated the story one more step.

Anything else I say will be gilding the lily. If you haven't already read this story, click on the link above. You'll thank me for it.