Monday, July 20, 2015

Reader's Diary #1176- Joe Stretch: Hartshill

Too often when people use the word "interesting" it's really a passive-aggressive way of saying "I don't get it and I think it's stupid." But I'm going to use it to describe Joe Stretch's "Hartshill" nonetheless.

 I don't quite get it, that's true. But there are things I liked. Told by a man waiting for a train and partaking in that most popular of pastimes, people-watching, I enjoyed this part. He captures the details of other peoples' lives like only the truly bored manage. But it was also intriguing. He's interested in a footballer's girlfriend and then starts to look her up on the internet. There's something off about it at first, but it's hard to put your finger on, because hey, everybody's Googled someone without them knowing. So, is it just putting such an action in print Stretch's way of editorializing society: look at how creepy we've become? Maybe, but then the narrator drops some minor details here or there that suggest, no, this guy's actually a bit more creepy than the norm. All of those important details disguised as throwaway details kind of bug me, like I'm not sure if they're intentionally vague or not, or if they are, if that's a good thing. As I say, interesting.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

It sounds a little like The Girl on The Train, in miniature.

John Mutford said...

Barbara: I had to look up what the premise of that book was and I can see how it would sound similar, for sure. That said, I suspect the narrator in this story is more sinister.