Sunday, January 13, 2008

Reader's Diary #323- Mark Antony Jarman: The Cougar

Short Story Monday

Thanks to Pooker for recommending Mark Jarman's short stories to me.

Fortunately I was able to find one of his short stories online: "The Cougar" (and it's about an actual cougar, not Demi Moore or Kylie Minogue).

It took me a few paragraphs to warm to this story. It's filled with sentence fragments alongside run-on sentences, slang words, and pop-culture references. It smacked of someone trying too hard to be cool. Actually, I thought he was trying to be a modern-day Canadian beatnik.

"Then in the woods a sleek cougar nearly takes my head off, but I said ix-nay."

Before long I began to appreciate it. While the voice doesn't come across as belonging to someone I'd necessarily like or have much in common with, it fit the narrator's character. I'm curious about Jarman's other stories-- are they all written in the same sort of voice? If so, the fact that it worked so well this particular time around was but a lucky coincidence. Or are they all written in different voices unique to the particular protagonist? If so, it's impressive that Jarman goes beyond simply using character appropriate vocabulary and makes even style (i.e., sentence fragments) a part of the vernacular. Jarman has piqued my interest in his other stories, for sure.

(Cross posted at The Short Story Reading Challenge)


Chrisbookarama said...

Demi Moore. When I saw the title, my mind went right there. lol. I don't know if it's the story for me but I'll have a look.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I don't know this writer at all, but I shall certainly give this story a try - thanks. As long as only real cougars lurk within.

John Mutford said...

Chirs: Glad it wasn't just me.

Barbara: I didn't either. Don't you think he looks a little like Gord Downie, except with hair?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

No, he looks more like my friend Wally.

Anonymous said...

BTW, I am linking your blog to mine!

Your challenge is linked though!