Wednesday, August 25, 2010

On "The Average Human Heart" by Martin Law (2777 words) ****

I wish I could remember the seven stories--or themes--that one writer once said were all that actually exist. Every story we tell revolves around these, he said. I'd be prone to agree with him. When you get down to it, there are only so many subjects we cover. So a good story isn't about telling us something we've never heard but in the telling itself.

Law's story is one about grief, as familiar subject as there can be in fiction. And while it's not a story that's going to surprise you in terms of plot, it is one that will affect you. He does this one sentence at a time, one fact at a time. Our narrator has grown adept at counting, at mathematical and statistical information, and one senses in this his only means of dealing with loss. As the list of facts grow, however, our compassion for him can't help but grow as well. Statistics have never had more heart. Read the story here at the Adirondack Review.

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