Monday, April 04, 2011

Reader's Diary #698- John Geddes: Only 5 Minutes

As I'm once again back in Canada, I figured I'd best pick a Canadian author this week. (I've still got a few New Orleans books to review, so I'll save my vacation highlights to work into those posts-- in case you're interested.)

Not going with a familiar name this time around, I can't provide any details about this week's author. He's from Vancouver and that's all I know. There's a John Geddes that also writes for Macleans magazine, but I don't believe they're the same.

Anyway, this John Geddes short story "Only Five Minutes" plays with one of those fears that nags most modern day parents on at least a few occasions: abduction. And I say "plays with" because that's essentially what Geddes does. Not meaning to imply that Geddes doesn't treat the topic with the respect it deserves, but he seems to understand that he has to do more with a premise that makes parents uncomfortable enough as it is. He tells the story mostly through a limited third person perspective, following a young boy's (the victim's) thoughts. It's a clever way to trigger those parental voices of the readers, who presumably know better that the boy and would love to scream at him to get out of harm's way. Plus, Geddes teases with a few opportunities for the boy to get out of trouble that never quite pan out. The few unanswered questions that Geddes leaves about the identity of the kidnapper, and how he knows what he knows, triggers our inner detectives at the same time.

Though one unanswered question I wasn't crazy about was my own. What's up with the last sentence? Repeating the title of the story, it's clear this is supposed to be a profound statement of some sort, but I can't get what it's supposed to mean, or why Geddes stresses it. Otherwise, I enjoyed this piece.

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


Anonymous said...

Child abduction stories always bother me. Sounds like he took it in his own direction, though.

Hope you had a great vacation.

I read a Wodehouse story this week.

Allison said...

Hope you had a great vacation! Look forward to hearing about it.

Teddy Rose said...

I can hardly wait to hear your perspective on New Orleans. Welcome home!

'Only 5 Minutes' sounds worth while. I'm going to download it when I'm done with this comment.

I reviewed another one that you had added to my TBR, 'The God of Dark Laughter':

Anonymous said...

Just taking a minute off from the conference (on Canadian studies) to leave the link. I ll take the time to read reviews when I m back!


Barbara Bruederlin said...

I enjoyed the story too, but it is a difficult topic to read about without squirming. I wasn't particularly bothered by the last sentence, as I took it to be something that the boy had been hearing his whole life.

When are you coming back to visit?