brothercyst: New elimae, new Zoetrope.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

New elimae, new Zoetrope.

New elimae.

Story in it.

That story used to be 13,000 words. Really. I cut it down.


I read Daniel Handler's story about a ghost, "Naturally," in the new Zoetrope. It's flawed; it's also good.

(Daniel Handler is "Lemony Snicket." I didn't know until I read the contributor's notes.)

Unfortunately the story includes helpless and convulsive puns, as if he just couldn't help using phrases like "gave up the ghost"--as if his fingers just had to type those phrases out. You read them and cringe.

There are much better moments. The ghost is poking around on someone's desk: "There he found he could pick up pens, which is where they go when you can't find them." Nice you.

Once in a while Handler without warning inserts his own musings into the mostly third-person story. When someone is eating cookies, Handler says, "The cookies are a favorite of my wife's."

(Nabokov does this too. In "Perfection," which is also mostly in third person, two characters are going to the beach, and Nabokov suddenly says something like, "But the last time I went swimming was in the river Luga." [Not an exact quote.] Then there is a big paragraph about the last time he went swimming.)

At first it seems like a (good) gimmick, Handler cutting in like that. But at the very end he does something unexpected that works, that makes the "gimmick" exist for a reason. He again comes into the story as "I" and starts talking about real people he knows who have died, people who some of the story's readers might also know of or (since this is Zoetrope) even have known personally, like Amanda Davis. Amanda Davis was a guest fellow at Yale one year.

It's sudden and strange and it works.


reader of depressing books said...

i want to read it

can you leave it on the counter

NickAntosca said...

Yes. I'm going out now for a bit, I'll find the magazine and put it out before I leave.

I looked at the loquats; they look interesting. I'm considering.