Some years back I was somewhat critical of a collection of sonnets that had too heavy a focus on sonnets as a theme. In recent months I've questioned if I wasn't being hypocritical. I quite enjoyed Scott McCloud's The Sculptor and today I was really taken with Pranaya Rana's "In the Hollow of Hands Hides a Heartbeat." I am not, as it turns out, completely opposed to art about art. Perhaps the difference between the former two and the book of sonnets is the a divide between the mediums (McCloud's is about scupture, not graphic novels and Rana's is about photography, not short stories) and it keeps the danger of being too meta in check. Or it could also be that the latter two works focus on the artist to make the point. We're left with a commentary on art but expressed through a personal lens that lends an air of empathy.
In "In the Hollow of Your Hands Hides a Heartbeat" Raman exposes the selfish side of art. Art, yes, often aims to reveal truths, but the artist sometimes treats truth like a animal whose head is to be mounted upon a wall once it's captured. There's a sad denial in truth's fluidity. Rana takes this on in a depressing but beautifully written story about a man, his wife, and the distance art (or the misunderstanding of art) creates between them.