Monday, October 05, 2015

Reader's Diary #1199- Hilary Boyd: The Bed

A lot of people say they don't like short stories. They often gripe that they feel incomplete, a small part of the bigger picture that they'd rather have.

Nuts to them, I say. Well, not really, as nuts to them is not really an expression I say, but I don't think they've been exposed to good short stories. Good ones feel complete. In that respect Hilary Boyd's "The Bed" is not a good short story. As a piece of a larger novel, it would be fantastic. Nonetheless, if there's someone that you're trying to sell on short stories, steer them clear of this one.

It's about an adult daughter and her mother who is out to buy a bed. The daughter realizes, with dismay, that her mother has moved off since the death of her husband, the daughter's father, is dating, and... the horror... may even be having sexual relations.

It's a domestic sort of story, kind of slow. But that doesn't mean there couldn't be some real meat here. Why is that the mother has moved on while the daughter hasn't? Who has more to gain by moving on? Or conversely, who stands to lose more by not. As it is, none of this is really explored and the story feels underdeveloped. Too much time is spent on a big reveal that to most readers, I would assume, is pretty obvious.

That said, the characters still feel real enough that I'd read more... if more was available.

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