Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Why the Short Story Is NOT Dying

Awake Till the End by Alysse Aallyn
"Crime Stories"

No, it's not true that I'm too tough on writers. I'm not tough at all. I'm waiting to be enthusiastic. I ask only, ONLY, that the author meet a few minimum requirements. Such as, that the writing be readable. Don't insult my intelligence with self-indulgent verbiage best meant for yourself. If you do write only for yourself-- or a professor-- with no thought of involving the reader, keep it in a journal.

I'm not talking now about Alysse Aallyn, whose modest volume of stories is surprisingly good.

Fifteen engaging tales that aren't really crime stories, since many of them merely hint at crime, or the crime takes place offstage. They're pop stories, meaning, highly readable. Aallyn adds touches of wry humor. On occasion, surprise and pathos.

Alysse Aallyn shows her characters as human beings, with emphasis on human. She understands their weaknesses and quirks. She presents a parade of unique personalities. Though she can be scathingly cynical-- usually is, come to think of it-- she loves life and enjoys people. Aallyn gives you first herself; her smart and personable voice.

A few of the stories border on excellent.

"Scathed," about secrets between a mother and daughter, is painfully knowing about men and women.

Alysse Aallyn is best at depicting children. She makes them thoroughly believable, as in "Cold Huntsman," about a sensitive girl and her flaky aunt, and most of all, "Violet," which at the end delivers a kick.

A few of the endings are too hurried, too abrupt. One or two of the works seem like fragments more than stories. But hey, she keeps you wanting more.

PUBLISHER: The Midnight Reader
REVIEWED BY: King Wenclas

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