Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Reader's Diary #1399- Devon Code: In a Mist

I don't read a lot of short story collections, but for the past many years I've been reading and reflecting upon a short story per week as part of Short Story Mondays and I consider myself a fan of the form. Perhaps that's why I bristle somewhat when someone, someone who has not adequately given the short story a chance, declares themselves uninterested with a nonsense excuse like short stories being incomplete or unrealized, not having enough space to fully develop both character and plot. And perhaps those people are why, when I come across a short story that doesn't make the best use of its condensed space, I am almost resentful.

That opening paragraph doesn't bode well for Devon Code's short story collection In a Mist.

However, I will say, on a positive note, that Code has a real knack for description. The places, each unique from story to story, felt authentic. The characters had depth and complex motivation. Still, I couldn't shake the feeling that the plots themselves were vague. And worse, vague masquerading as profound.

Tellingly, the one I remember and enjoyed the most from this collection, "Edgar and Morty," did seem to follow the more traditional conflict and resolution format.

But I'll also give the benefit of a doubt that as I'm not much of a re-reader (a downside to my one short story a week practice), maybe the plots in the rest of the stories were just buried a little bit deeper and required either a second read or at the very least, a slower, more considerate read. Still, I think it's fair to say that if you were not a fan of short stories before, In a Mist would not convert you.

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