Friday, July 18, 2008

On "Lifelines" by B. J. Hollars (1521 words) ****

I love fantastic realism, but so much of the genre that I come across on the Net tries too hard, compromises with the very heart of what fantastic realism does, which is merge the two elements in such a way that the fantastic seems very real. At it's best, though, the genre makes for great reading and interesting commentary on one of humanity's conditions (generally one to two of them at a time--social, ethical, existential, whatever). This story, which appears in Fawlt Magazine--itself an interesting endeavor, themed around various human faults with each issue (and somehow managing still to have enough to select from to be good)--this story is about man who grows up with a broken heart, which somehow requires that he wears mittens full time. I couldn't help but identify with him in his early life, the way everyone wants to protect him, which in turn isolates him, as my rather frail frame as a kid tended to do to me (kids wouldn't let me play football with them, lest I get hurt). I also thought of other cases, a kid I knew who actually had had a heart operation, and who couldn't do any sort of aerobic activity and who was, thus, likely even more isolated than I ever was. Hollars's does such a great job of painting this picture that I was thinking from a point of view I hadn't really considered before, and then the story grows as the character does, leading to its tragic end. Expect to read more about Hollars's stories on this blog; I've been coming across him quite a bit lately and have generally been pleased. Read the story here.

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