Monday, October 5, 2009

On "A Random Migration" by Brian Allen Carr (5210 words) ****

This story really engaged me, right from its first line, and that's a nice feeling to have with something that is so long, especially when one is reading a story on the Internet, where the proclivity is to let one's mind wander and to wander eventually away from the story. Why does this one stick so well? That first line, telling about a death, opens up a story of its own, makes us curious. And really, to oversimplify, the story just adds one line after another like that, telling us more about that death, about the one who died.

As with some things we learn about in life, things we may not be so connected with anymore, the narrator--and thus the reader--here learns about the death in only segments. The facts of the incident are contradictory, until we get up close with them.

Or is what makes this piece so intriguing in the details? There's a moment where the narrator is on the phone with his mom, and she starts to berate him for smoking. "I'm not smoking," he says. "I can hear you breathe," she says. That last line seems so much like something someone who really knows someone would say.

Or is it in the rather sad background story? The friends who have stopped being friends, the search for a past that is no longer there, for a future to which one belongs? I suppose it's probably all these things. Maybe you can glean some other ideas by reading the story, here, at Front Porch.

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