Welcome to the Short Story Saturday review slot and the thirteenth review in this series. This week’s review is of the 2,230-word story ‘The Little Man Who Was Almost There’ by Thomas Locicero. The story appears first (and therefore available in the free preview!) of his collection Under the Tree.
In the five-word first sentence we’re introduced to the protagonist immediately and ‘Clete’ is a fantastic name, and as it turns out a character with a colourful past.
Throughout the story we have ‘Chinese whispers’ where in some cases his memory lets him down, other times its embellishments and that just goes to add to the charm of the piece.
The writing itself is very descriptive, graphic in places, a very ‘educated’ read. There’s humour, I love that he’s in his eighties and his mother is still alive, and the banter between husband and wife.
Initially his wife, Greta, was my favourite character; as she was very calm and soothing, and having been married for so long knows exactly what to say to Clete, but (I have to ‘pick’ – this is a review after all), I was disappointed with what she tells Clete the morning after the late news programme, and turns it to her benefit. I felt up to then that it was out of character, however (without wishing to give too much away), it does end up being to their mutual benefit so she redeems herself. 🙂
Thank you, Thomas, for inviting me to read your story.
Thomas Locicero is an award-winning short story writer, poet and essayist, as well as a playwright and monologist. His work has appeared in Roanoke Review, Boston Literary Magazine, The Long Island Quarterly, riverrun, Omnibus Arts & Literature Anthology, A&U: America’s AIDS Magazine and Beginnings, among other literary periodicals. Originally from East Islip, Long Island, Thomas resides with his wife, Lil, and their sons, Sam and Ben, in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Under the Tree is his first short story collection.
Thomas says, “From my earliest recollections of childhood, the one constant in my life has been my desire to be an author. I remember being in fourth grade at Timber Point Elementary School in East Islip and writing a poem for a girl named Jennifer Herman. While the class was watching a film, I was sneaking my way toward Jennifer’s desk to hand her the poem. Mr. Biangardi caught me and snatched the paper from my hand. The class was giddy with joyful anticipation because, as was the custom, Mr. Biangardi was going to read the ‘note’ aloud to the class, using my embarrassment as a weapon to deter future note passers. After reading the poem to himself, he said, “You wrote this?” I answered, ‘Yes, just now.’ To the dismay of my classmates, Mr. Biangardi handed the poem back to me and said, ‘It’s really good.’ After class, he encouraged me to pursue writing. As an addendum to the story, Jennifer Herman moved away the following year and I never saw her again.”
Morgen: What a shame, although there’s a story there… I wonder if she’s Googlable. 🙂
Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I review stories of up to 2,500 words on this ‘Short Story Saturdays’ feature. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.
Next up is my spotlight of mystery, YA and children’s author Marilyn Levinson, then the blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow morning with mystery / thriller writer Helen Smith – the five hundred and thirteenth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, 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.
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