Monday, April 26, 2010

Reader's Diary #606- Brayden Hirsch: The Yellow Eye

Earlier this week I discovered Wet Ink Magazine, which describes itself as "an arts magazine for and by Canadian youth." WIM, edited by Jen Sookfong Lee (she's the author behind The End of East and was a panelist for Canada Reads 2009, defending Brian Francis's Fruit), features poetry, short fiction, and visual art from teenagers across Canada. It's a great way for the young, creative and talented to get their work out there and to be part of a scene that's usually left to the adults.

I decided on Brayden Hirsch's short story, "The Yellow Eye," for no other reason than he also has his own blog.

"The Yellow Eye" is basically a take on the old Hook Man/ Boyfriend's Death urban legends. But that's okay. At 14, Hirsch and his peers are supposed to be into that kind of stuff. Plus, he adds an interesting bit about the power (or pitfalls) of imagination, and for the most part, is well-written to boot.

Two minor issues:

1. The line "For the first time in her life she was going to die." I don't think I need to say what's wrong with that.

2. The father leaving his eleven year old daughter alone in a car, while he goes for gas. For plot convenience he needs to go, of course, but it doesn't come across as very likely, especially as she protests against his decision. I remember going to a book club a few years back and getting annoyed with a couple of women in the group. I forget which book we were discussing that night or who the author was, but I recall it was a male. Whatever it was that the female protagonist had done sent the females in our group into a frenzy. "This is so clearly written by a man," they protested, "no woman would ever do such a thing." I resented the comment so much. Do all women think with the same brain? Of course not. And just because those women would not have made the same decision, didn't mean that another woman wouldn't. I had to question myself over Hirsch's story, using that same logic. Just because I wouldn't leave my eleven year old daughter alone in a car, stranded in the snow along a highway, doesn't mean that some fathers wouldn't. However, Hirsch needs a little more tweaking to make such a move a little more likely or believable. Establish that the father makes a lot of poor decisions where his daughter's well-being is concerned. Give him a better reason to suggest she stay in the car (her leg is broken and it would be too tough trudging through the snow drifts). Something. Or better yet (and this is where I thought the story was going), make her father the serial killer, unknown to the girl.

Anyway, it's not my story. It's Hirsch's and he's done a fine job. Check out the great imagery in the opening paragraph.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below.)


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Maybe I need more coffee, but I could not locate that story in the link.

Brayden Hirsch said...

Interesting you picked my short story only because of my blog. LOL. Brayden Hirsch here. Hope you like both the story and the blog, though.

Yes, Barbara, but that link only leads to my blog. You can go to to read The Yellow Eye, or read the contest-winning version at to read the great review there, and download the story.

Thanks for this review, anyhow. I'll think about those pointers next time I write something. Sincerely,

Brayden Hirsch

Brayden Hirsch said...

Oh. One more thing. I thought about making the father the killer, but the whole point of the story is the irony at the end. So my focus was just a little different.

Thanks, just thought I'd defend my case there. :-)

John Mutford said...

Barbara: Brayden was kind enough to provide the actual link. Thanks Brayden. I've also corrected it in the post above.

Brayden: I just think it's great when authors have blogs, so I want to support that whenever I can. And true enough, the whole imagination angle would have been sacrificed had the father been the killer. Thanks for dropping by!

Teddy Rose said...

Thanks for the review. I think it's great that we can help new writers through our blogging. I also love it when authors have their own blog. I also love it when authors stop by my blog and comment. I just printed the story out to read.

John, you already read mine but here's the link:

Grandma Rose by Teddy Rose

Teddy Rose said...

I just took a look at Brayden's blog. from his header, it appears that he also lives in Vancouver. Very cool.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

There's some great imagery in the story. I had a couple of issues with a few points, but it's easy to be a critic. Keep writing, Brayden!