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28 Far Cries Kindle Edition
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I'm not entirely unfamiliar with Mr. Nash's work, as I have been involved in countless discussion threads with him over the past year; however, this was my first real reading of his work.
The stories in 28 Far Cries are unrelated in theme and characters, and this makes the collection a good sample of Mr. Nash's work. There are some collections where the diversity of themes and subjects make the collection feel disjointed, nevertheless, this was not the case here.
That being said, I spent the past three days contemplating how to review 28 Far Cries. I must admit that, as a reader, I was a little torn as to how I should rate it. The stories are easy to read, and the text is well edited, so there was no problem there. Yet, I found myself contemplating the literary worth of the stories, and their value as stories.
Mr. Nash created tales without a beginning or an end. Tales that come out of nowhere, allow the reader a glimpse of space and time, and depart. This, for me, was a new reading experience. I can only consider that, unlike most authors who want the reader to consider a situation, a character, or a setting, Mr. Nash explores a thought and the language appropriate for that thought.
It is the language itself, which makes these stories worth reading, as Mr. Nash creates feelings through words. At first, from the traditional storytelling perspective, I was leaning towards a three-star rating. But the longer I thought about it, the more I recognized that these stories are worth more, for the author severed traditions and embarked on his own, uncompromising quest. And while some of the stories in this collection did not speak to me personally, I must admire the artist's effort and attitude.
My favourites were varied:
Road To Nowhere, Cop Aesthetic, Nocebo, Geiger Countering and the very chilling Skin Bar. Hard to pick a favourite. All written with skill. Well worth a look at.
No. That's close but not quite right.
This book is like a display case filled with 28 finely crafted, exquisitely detailed miniature sculptures. You have to pick each one up in turn, examine it on its own while lying on a hammock for a while, before returning to the case to pick up another. After reading one or two of these pieces, I decided to take my sweet time with this collection, and I'm glad I did. You could read this in an afternoon, I suppose, but I wouldn't recommend it. These flash fiction pieces have drag. (And somehow I mean drag as in the longitudinal retarding force exerted by air or other fluid surrounding a moving object.) There are little gnarly bits sticking out of these stories that you should allow to snag your attention. You should take some pleasure in examining the embedded hooks. You can tell the author has worked and reworked these pieces, grabbing different disparate bits over time and mashing them into place, working them in, rubbing and rearranging until they work.
Nash is playing with language here. That seems to be his main focus. He likes obscure and archaic words, and especially words or phrases with double or triple meanings. It was fun to see how he'd mash ideas together, reconcile juxtapositions, flog a pun to death, turn concepts inside out, and meditate on a peculiar concept until it nearly breaks under his scrutiny. In addition to inspecting the meaning of words, Nash is also obviously obsessively concerned with the sounds we make when we speak them. There is a rough rhythm to these pieces, a lot of hard consonant sounds that pop and crack and jolt and jar as you go.
This collection isn't for everyone. Many of the pieces aren't proper stories. Many are more like inspections of objects and concepts at a microscopic level. Yes, you will find stories in this thing, but there are plenty of chunks of writing therein that could just as easily be labeled anti-story. If you think you might like that sort of thing, give this a go. I had fun reading it. But, admittedly, it was less the pleasure one usually associates with reading and more the kind of fun one has while solving puzzles.
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