Friday, May 9, 2008

On "My Brother Picks Cans" by Mark R. Dursin (3512 words) ***

Okay, so let's talk about story subgenres. You know, like stories about marriages going bad, stories about moms dying, stories about first times. This is a brother story. And I think I'm probably a sucker for such pieces. I'm remembering a story in Marshall Boswell's The Trouble with Girls and another story in Ryan Harty's Tell Me Your Saddest Arizona. Brother stories, and I liked both--in fact, thought that in each case the story was one of the best in the collection. And here's another good brother story. This doesn't quite match the level of Boswell or Harty, but it's well done. Maybe I just wish I had a brother or wish I had a sibling who was closer to me. Or maybe such stories remind me of being young. I don't know. What I do know is how Dursin managed to get me interested in his story before any of the other stories in the latest JMWW. It was a series of declarative sentences, fairly simple. No sparks, no odd phrases that made me think, what's up? Or maybe the opening did make me think, what's up. What's up with picking cans and why is that so important that people would notice? The story goes from there, giving readers a pretty good entry into the life of these two brothers. This isn't a story that's going to knock your socks off or anything, but it is nice, and it sounds, for the most part, "real"-- you know, genuine. And sometimes, that's better than all the pyrotechnics a writer might be able to muster. You can read the story for yourself here.


Jen said...

Thanks for the nice review of Mark's story!

Jen Michalski, jmww

Short Story Reader said...

You can read a review of my review on Mark Dursin's blog here: