Monday, April 04, 2005

Kaddish by Reed Farrel Coleman

Kaddish” by Reed Farrel Coleman, King of the Kill, Bleak House Books

How do you review a story like this? It’s a short-short, flash fiction I guess. I can’t say much about the events of the story without giving the whole thing away. I’ve never much cared for flash fiction. The stories are too short, and most of the ones I’ve read depend on some type of “trick”.

“Kaddish”, however, isn’t one of those. If I had to categorize it, I’d say it was a character study with a twist. I say that because Mr. Coleman spends as much time delineating the main character as I suspect he would have in a more conventional short story. And he does it well. The conversation between the main character and Starker Mench in the second half of the story reveals almost as much about the main character as the first half does.

By the way, until I started reviewing stories I never thought much about the main character not being named. Often enough it didn’t really matter, and sometimes it added a sense of mystery to the story. But as a reviewer it’s a real pain in the ass! I’m always referring to “The Main Character.” How awkward is that? How do you make that read smoothly? I can’t even call them ‘Nameless’ for fear of confusing them with Bill Pronzini’s PI. Oh, well. The reviewer’s lot is a hard one. Rant over.

The ending is a little bit open-ended for my taste. Not in the ultimate outcome for the two characters, but in the relationship between them. I would have preferred just a bit more information.

In short, in spite of its length, I liked it.


At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just for the record, it should be mentioned that Reed's great story originally appeared in an issue of PLOTS WITH GUNS. Just a tid-bit of trivia for everyone.

Victor Gischler

At 3:45 PM, Blogger Graham said...

Huh, I thought I'd read all the PWG stories. Guess I'll have to go dumpster, er, archive diving.

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