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13 dec 2013 - yankorro - two short stories


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I liked this.  It almost feels like one of the interludes I've been ranting on about, but in this instance it works, because that's what the story is about.  Both Subhash and Sajid had good character depth, even though the story was short.  The only part I wasn't sure about was the very end.  Subhash is going home, but he's walking away from the dumpster and TV.  I assume maybe he's going to get something before he leaves?  But it doesn't really work because he's moving away from his objective as the story ends.  Maybe have him climb in the dumpster instead?



Well this one was something new.  It's a completely different style from your usual.  I liked the basic premise, but felt the story itself was incomplete, or didn't have a strong direction.  Mats has no clear objective, aside from bedding potential model candidates, and so almost acts as a secondary character to Annie, who is the one who changes.  In the end, she does change, and leaves, and Mats just goes back to what he was doing before.  There's no challenge, and nothing really accomplished, as Annie's transformation didn't seem to help or hinder her relationship with her husband (versus Subhash finally getting to go home...).  I'm not sure if Mats actually saw the original Annie as a type of perfection, which was then ruined, or if it was merely an afternoon's infatuation for him.


Fun reads!

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I really liked Chatarra. Frankly it was everything that you do well in a compact package. Sympathetic characters, clear plot, excellent pacing. I would strongly recommend that you submit it for publication. 


In contrast to Mandamon, I think I understand why Subhash left. The portal didn't work for him, right? But he's not going to be deterred that easily. (Feel free to correct me--it is your work.)


Diamond, on the other hand, I'm not crazy about. You've got strong characters--though Mats could be a bit more present--but really no clear reason what Annie is doing. While some authors (e.g. Julian Barnes) make that kind of ambiguity work, here it's a bit less smooth. Most of Mandamon's comments apply here; I'd hate to repeat what's been said. 


Also, on a personal note, not crazy about how you write sex. But that's always tricky if an American audience is involved.

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I liked Chatarra as well. It had a great feel to it. The tone was very well established and the characters well done. The ending confused me. I know his friend went through the portal. I know he left, he didn't care about the chatarra on the streets. He didn't want other people's scraps. I thought it meant the event had somehow inspired him to stop messing with the chatarra. No longer dealing in that business. Maybe he is going home literally in the Raval where his house is and going to find a new way of life. If he was going to go through the portal to go home, I don't understand why it wouldn't take him. Did he need more chatarra? If so why is he leaving it all behind when he leaves to go home. I'm lost on the end. Anyway - maybe I'm not smart enough to "get it" but I agree with jparker send this out for publication. It's a very solid story.


I actually liked diamond as well. Though, not near as much as chatarra. I think the others hit the main points. If you wanted the last line to carry a punch with it, I think sprinkiling in more about Mats seeing annie as perfect, or seeking the perfect, or longing for something. I don't know but something to set it up. I felt like that last line was very out of place, and I only feel that way because I didn't think it was sufficiently foreshadowed. I think it only needs a few tweaks to be a strong story and the ending being the main one in my opinion.


With both of these stories though you show your knack for creating sympathetic characters that are interesting to read about.

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  • 1 month later...

Two well-written stories, as the others have said. I had no trouble with the ending of Chatarra, or at least my interpretation of it! For me, Subhash sends Sajid through the portal at his own expense. Once Sajid has gone through, the portal is dead, so when Subhash says he's going home, I take that to mean that he is setting aside his struggle to pay his way in Barcelona, because he has been inspired to return to Kashmir be conventional means (the hard way). Putting a positive spin on it in my mind, I presume he will then be with his wife and children, since there was no indication that anything had happened to them.


Anyway, here are my comments on reading the stories.






Apologies for line editing included in my comments, but there were bits that I tripped over on what was otherwise a very fluent piece.


I'm not sure about the punctuation of the list of things that qualify as chatarra. Also, I struggle with the phrase ‘raw material of life’, which surely is carbon, water, etc., i.e. organic life. I see what you mean about these things being recycled, I don’t think the phrase captures that.


The two characters’ names starting with ‘S’ caused confusion for me a couple of times, having to look back and check who was who, is it really necessary?


‘One by one Subhash stomps on the lever that lifts the dented grey dumpster lids...’ – this reads to me as if there is one lever that opens all the lids. I see what you mean, but I think it’s maybe ‘levers’, ‘lift’ and ‘each of the dented...’? I'm not sure, tricky one.


You don’t mention the name of the sports team, which I think Subhash would know, that made me stop.


When Subhash recalls selling his house is the first impression that I had that he was an adult. Before that point I had been considering him as a child, similar (bit somewhat older) than Sajid.


And I struggle with the fact that he just walks away from the dumpster rather than investigating on the spot.


Sajid falls to the ground rather than the floor surely.


This is an interesting concept. I like the idea behind the story. The setting is well drawn and the characters are effective. Despite these good components, something doesn’t quite click for me. I think that once the screen appears events seem to rush to the end. There’s no sense of wonder in Subhash no real contemplation of the nature of this thing.


The end is good, effective, Subhash is no hero taking on the thugs, but he saves the day and has a positive outcome himself in the way the incident inspires him to change his life (or seems to). I think maybe for me it just needed something more between the discovery of the screen and the final scene.






Interesting story, well written – I was pulled through it at a good pace, with almost not grammatical issues catching my attention. There was really only one style point that I thought was worth mentioning, as follows;


‘…she had grabbed him by the arms and thrown him across the room...’ I think putting this phrase in Past Perfect tense instead of Simple Past takes the immediacy and energy out of it, not to mention the surprise.


Overall, I think it’s a good story. You have a matter-of-fact way of dealing with the futuristic elements which is not overcomplicated, making them easy to accept as part of the story.


My only other comment, like others, is about the ending. As I approached the end, I felt sure that there was going to be a twist. The way that Annie left without saying anything each time, the way she talked about her husband in a slightly mysterious and oblique way, I was just waiting, almost expecting, something to come out of left field, but it didn’t. That made the ending a bit flat for me, and I ended up not entirely sure what message I was supposed to take away from the story.

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