Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Thirty Days of Short Reviews #27: Three Stories

Victor Edison's mini Three Stories has a common thread in each story: there is something falling up, or down, in each one. The conditions under which this happens and the ultimate outcome of each vary greatly. In "Falling", a man leaps from the top of a building, presumably to engineer his own death, only to find himself immersed in language, Japanese kanji to be specific. It's as though that immersion in language, in belief, in structure gave him abilities to soar that he didn't understand until he was truly put to the test.

"A Dandelion" follows the path taken by a flowery puff blown into the air by a little girl. It zips in and out and around people, cities and fields until it final alights on a grave. One can imagine an unseen connection between the girl and the departed, at least in terms of providing a small offering for them. "Upside Down" finds a man who wakes up with the world literally upside down, as he wakes up on the ceiling with gravity affecting him completely differently than everything else in the world. Edison takes this to its logical extreme when the man cautiously steps out of his house, sees another man obeying the laws of physics, and then falls up...and up and up. Like the other stories, it's entirely silent, and it's all about displacement, about being thrust into a new world where everything we understand about it is wrong. The stories are cleverly told, as Edison's style is a sort of bland naturalism that gets the job done without leaving a particular stylistic mark. These stories are about the impact of the themes and ideas behind them, and Edison is able to string together events in such a way that makes these themes apparent without hammering them home.

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