I thought it’d be a good idea to catch up on some of my short story reading backlog of lit journals, especially at a time when I myself am submitting and seeking that magic key.
While I usually start in at the beginning and read straight through, I skipped (and will go back to) the first story because it was unusually long.
Do The Math by Lucia Nevai was in my opinion good writing, the voice strong and compelling, yet I wasn’t excited or awed by the story. To me, it seemed just another adult looking back at a rather sexually experimental period of time, the first person narrator’s memory being jogged by a letter from an old friend. The narrator may become more aware of herself, find herself so to speak, but in my book she wasn’t a character that I liked in the beginning, and disliked even more at the end. The voice was, as I say, strong; strong enough to overcome my own problems with the type of character speaking.
Blessed Are The Meek by Sandra Hunter was the first place winner in Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction contest. It’s good. Very good. It’s got characters who, with little real detail, become nonetheless very real through the third person narrator’s well planned insight. The story is just a brief scenario, a small episode in the life of an elderly married couple (this brings to mind another one I read recently that had that same ability to touch the human emotion through its very realism) and their interaction. It’s nice to see good writing and a fine literary style be so acknowledged.
These two stories have one thing in common that would strike me as notable: Voice.