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daniellclausen

The Lexical Funk!

Daniel has wanted to be a writer ever since he was in elementary school.He has published stories and articles in such magazines as Slipstream, Black Petals, Spindrift, Zygote in my Coffee, and Leading Edge Science Fiction. He has written four books: The Sage and the Scarecrow (a novel), the Lexical Funk (a short story collection), Reejecttion (short story/ essay collection), and The Ghosts of Nagasaki (a novel).

A Review of Kazuo Ishiguro's Nocturnes

Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall - Kazuo Ishiguro

I think if you look at my ratings on Goodreads you'll see that I'm much more sympathetic to short story collections. A good short story collection often shows an author's commitment to craft. You can see how much care the author takes with every word, you can get a sense of his or her range when dealing with subject matter and characters. You can get a sense of how their style carries from one kind of story to another.

 

There is another reason -- there is very little money in short stories, even for established writers. Thus, writers write short stories "for the love of the game".

 

For the most part, the stories in this collection share a kind of tonal consistency. Each story tells a tale of disappointment, subtle loss, memory, and the way we look foolish in pursuit of a dream. All the stories share musical elements and songs. Various songs and melodies tie these stories together. But this short story collection could also have been about the travails of writers and writing.

 

The story "Come Rain or Come Shine" stuck out for me as a bit awkward. It wasn't poorly written. It featured compelling characters and fantastic dialogue. However, because the short story takes place in a single space and is mostly dialogue, I felt that the story would have been better as a one-act play. (In some ways, it reminded me of the low-budget, but clever movie "Tape" with Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman). The story also features an absurd scene that doesn't quite work prose fiction but might have seemed less absurd and entertaining as a piece of theater physical comedy. You'll know the scene as soon as you read it.

 

There are some compelling reasons to stay away from these stories. One -- the emotional journies in these stories are subtle. There is rising action and things do happen, but by the end of the story, you often get the impression that the things that were left unsaid and that didn't happen were just as important. As a writer, I love these stories. I also appreciate how hard they are to pull off. Also -- the endings are not traditional endings. They may even feel like non-endings to some readers.

 

If you are a writer, there is also a compelling reason to read this book. A close reading of these stories will help you master your craft. In particular, these stories will help you master the craft of dialogue, character, and how to use compelling details.

 

Happy readings!