To: Frank Marquardt
Date: September 19, 1994
Story: Little Monster
I like quite a few things about this story, and I like them a lot. First of all, your subject matter: perversion perhaps or maybe not guilty by reason of social frustration is a good oneodd enough to stay interesting. You play some games with narrative tone, and you do it very smoothly. Youve got a sharp wit, and as far as humor, Id give the one-liners a pretty high hit ratio. Your throwaway, marginal characters are introduced swiftly and comically. Some of these lines are exquisite. The one about the Julies rubber ducky and mathematical imprecisions in lifes lattice is dynamite. I would say that the story is divided into roughly five sections. The first three are my favorite; the last two are where I would say the biggest problems/criticisms that I have with the story dwell. Random notes:
- Im sure someone will bring up the politics of this in class. I sense a certain authorial ambivalence to whatever issues this brings up, unless Im misreading. Thats cool with me, and I think one of the best things about the piece is that theres no preachy intrusion on this glimpse of the little monster.
- The second paragraph on page four is where my problems start. The tracks shift abruptly, and Im not sure what youre trying to do for the continuity (or dis) of the piece. By going into this shorthand history of Jacks life post-litigation. A couple of the details are funny, but for me this paragraph was somewhat of a steam-sucker. The timeline strings events together where each of them could hold a more interesting in-depth paragraph on their own.
- I want a lot more of the thinking about death obsessively paragraph. Theres not enough there, I dont think, for the reader to draw any conclusions, or make interesting connections (me at least). Is it the classic orgasm=little death juxtaposition?
- The ending, although witty, doesnt do much for the so what question. I dont know if you need an epiphany, but some kind of catharsis would be a nice payoff for the reader.