Welcome to the new Short Story Saturday review slot and the ninth review in this series. This week’s is of 1,323-word story ‘The Awakening of George Mahooney’ by Kathryn Jones.
A story of any length should have a great hook, and this piece’s (‘George Mahooney hated flies.’) certainly grabbed my attention. In just four words it tells us about the character and already we’re asking questions: why, and who is he?
The detailing is then intricate as we learn more about him and his wife. We get a feel for the characters right from the start (finding out George is a frail nonagenarian in the first paragraph) but then when the husband and wife are in the kitchen the reader (me) gets even more emotionally involved, all the way to the end.
I love inanimate objects taking on a life of their own and here we have weeds taunting George (and mine are me at the moment!).
If I had to ‘pick’ (this is a review after all), I did notice that quite a few of the sentences started with a pronoun (George, He, His, Cleo) but it’s something I’ve only recently become acutely aware of in my own writing and it’s so easily done that I’m sure if I picked up any book I’d find heaps of them. I did also spot a couple of tense slips but again, so easy to do.
Good stories often entertain and educate, and this story certainly ticks those boxes. Occasionally they should even have you scurrying to the dictionary – this one sent me to Grammar Girl as I thought ‘all right’ to be a spelling mistake but sure enough, it appears that our Englishism of ‘alright’ has been wrong all these years (like my obstinate use of ’til instead of till for until).
Stories should also contain as many of the five senses as possible and we have four of them: sight (description), sound (flies then dialogue), touch (flies and birds), smell (cinnamon – one of my favourites – and beautifully used here). Just missing is taste, although the food is so wonderfully described that I almost feel as if I have. 🙂
The writing is tight and I especially liked the phone metaphor. All in all, a moving tale, relatable however old you are.
Thank you Kathryn for inviting me to review your story.
Kathryn has been a published writer since 1987. She has published various newspaper stories, magazine articles, essays and short stories for teens and adults. She is the author of: “A River of Stones”, a young adult fiction novel dealing with divorce published in 2002, and “Conquering your Goliaths—A Parable of the Five Stones”, a Christian novel published in January of 2012. Her newest creation, a “Conquering your Goliaths—Guidebook”, was published in February of 2012. Kathryn graduated from the University of Utah with a B.S. in Mass Communication and a minor in Creative Writing. Her studies included work in creative writing, public relations and journalism.
If you’d like to submit your story (50 to 2,500 words) for review take a look here.
Next up is the spotlight of lecturer, novelist and co-founder of Creative Writing the Artist’s Way Sarah Jane Dobbs then the blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with non-fiction author Ted Vestal – the three hundred and fortieth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore and Kobo. My eBooks are also now on Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s ‘Contact me’ page or plain and simple, email me. I also have a second-person viewpoint story in charity anthology Telling Tales.