Reviewer Gordon Osmond : Gordon is a produced and award-winning playwright and author of: So You Think You Know English--A Guide to English for Those Who Think They Don't Need One, Wet Firecrackers--The Unauthorized Autobiography of Gordon Osmond and his debut novel Slipping on Stardust.
He has reviewed books and stageplays for http://CurtainUp.com and for the Bertha Klausner International Literary Agency. He is a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law School and practiced law on Wall Street for many years before concentrating on writing fiction and non-fiction. You can find out more about Gordon by clicking HERE
What’s most remarkable about this short story is how much toil and trouble its unholy trinity of characters manages to get into in the course of 31 pages, a substantial chunk of which is devoted to standard-issue sex scenes.
Londoners Jared, Nalini, and Vanessa are as physically beautiful as their characters are, for the most part, ugly. Even the barest baring of plot would involve spoilage, so let’s just say that sex, alcohol, and stronger drugs abound throughout. Disclose of the story’s melodramatic outcome would in any event be pointless as very few would believe it. I certainly did not.
In an apparent effort to provide texture to this tawdry tale, there is a fair amount of micromanagement of the narrative. Inordinate attention is given to how doors are opened and closed, what fingers are used to pick up objects, etc.
Even given the substantial differences between U.S. and U.K. English in terms of grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary, this reader had a strong impression that the work could have benefited from more aggressive editing, particularly in regard to the punctuation of possessives and compound and compound/complex sentences. For example,
“Nalini skin went cold”
“Surely not though he couldn’t be sure, in his judgement the woman wasn’t entirely stable.” In the U.S.,and I suspect elsewhere, this is a classic run-on sentence.
“The bourbon bottle pressed cool against Jared’s palm; a double might do the trick…Jared paused and downed the last of the cognac…”
“How drole, to at last fall in love with a woman and then find out you’ve been set up.” “Drole” is defensible, but “droll” would raise far fewer eyebrows.
“The page fell his fingers and Jared stared into space, lost in a haze”
“Would Jared loathe her or, even worse, despise her?” If these two synonyms are engaged in combat, I think most would regard “loathe” as somewhat worse than “despise.” But why engage in these niceties at this critical moment in the story?
There are flashes of genuine imagination, particularly relating to the metaphoric use of flower petals and similes relating to injured birds. Let’s hope that as the author moves into longer works, she will capitalize on these insights and talents and graduate from the familiar excesses of the glutted world of romantic pulp fiction.