Story Review The Room Johnathan Colourfield Cailen Somewhere Only We Know
In this week's Author's Showcase, we break out of our mold a bit by giving you first Editor Johnathan Colourfield's The Room, reviewed by LouisHarris followed by Houdinii's review of Author Cailen's Somewhere Only We Know. We hope you enjoy both reviews and check out these great stories as well.
Word Count: 1635
There is a strange aesthetic to this work that I can only describe as mercenary to the theme of the Spring Anthology. Two words drew me to the work, and those words make up the title, The Room. At once, the title attracted me to it and I was hoping to read a dramatic discourse, a framed moment in time of an event inside a room, not just any room, but this room, The Room. I wanted suspense, perhaps horror, I wanted drama, perhaps a little fantasy. I wanted something like Stephen King’s, Room 1408.
To my utter amazement, I got more.
Johnathan Colourfield’s story is based on something that may have happened to him for he admits that this is a “very personal experience”. There is the smell of volcanic ash. It is dark. There are voices; a child’s voice. There is a light. He is tied to a chair in a dark Victorian room with a bed and a TV set. There are nursery rhymes. One thing is clear, a house had been set alight.
In the tradition of Virginia Andrews, the suspense builds up as the reader seeks a valid conclusion, because the author has drawn him in by using second person narrative. Using second person narrative is surreal, and there is a definite trend towards incorporating it into popular fiction. The second person viewpoint is often seen in experimental writing, cult or art novels, for example, in “Bright Lights, Big City” by Jay McIniery. Second person creates an almost intrusive intimacy, and is most effective when used in the present tense. The author wants to make his reader uncomfortable. He places the reader in the middle of the action, a witness to the events in the story.
Johnathan manages this narrative extremely well, although there are breaks in present tense when he suddenly moves to simple past tense. A gremlin in the editing process I would imagine. But, by using second person narrative, he deliberately makes the reader the victim, so to speak.
The Room is nightmarish. The YOU is bordering on dark insanity. There are nuances of blame for the fire, for the voice asks a question, “Why did you do it?”
The tale leaves enough space for the reader to formulate his own views. But if the reader has taken note of the nursery rhyme and the newspaper report, it will become evident that the man is the victim, and maybe, just maybe, this is a hate crime. And maybe, just maybe, the entire story is based on hypnotic regression? Nothing is as it should be in this story. So many questions. No available answers. This is precisely why I mentioned in the beginning of the review, that The Room has a strange beauty that is mercenary.
The prose is beautifully constructed. The sentences are clear and cut to the bone. This ismade deliberately to heighten the drama, and the darkness of the piece.
I was pleasantly surprised by the execution of the prose itself. Masterful. If I did not know that Johnathan wrote it, I would have assumed it to have been written by Edgar Allen Poe, or maybe even Virginia Wolf, all artistes of dark prose.
To paraphrase The Room. Enter. YOU will be scared shitless. The rest is up to YOU. Hopefully, YOU will awake from YOUR nightmare.
Reviewed by Houdinii
Word Count: 40,257
Status: In Progress
I've never really been one for the coming of age bravado stories, but one actually caught my eyes. The raw emotions found in “Somewhere Only We Know” by Cailen prove to be just as fine as the graphic arts he contributes to so selflessly. The first time I took a read, I expected the run of the mill “I'm young, just figured out I'm gay, he's cute, we date” sort of story. How wrong was I?
I can't say I have a lot of patience, and so far this story is driving me insane. As far as love interest goes, poor Danny boy gets the short end of the stick. This work is about a high school student that was forced to move to Tennessee by a father through adoption, and placed on a farm not far from the cutest guy in town. Typical, I know, but this story encompasses much more.
I'm sure all that read this have witnessed a bully go against a weaker mate, and an innocent friend of said bully stand by. While a tale of this nature seems to either speak only of love or bullying, the story I've been reading actually takes both, and creates a lucid and believable story line. Although it has not been completed, I've been pulled back to it many times, and again that is rare. I am a fan of the completed story, but on Mondays I find myself back to the same story time and time again.
I recently had the opportunity to talk with Cailen about his story, and I can give a heads up, I suppose. He wrote: “You're going to see that Ryan and Danny are not a perfect match for each other, that they have flaws and make mistakes. But it takes sheer commitment to see a relationship through even though you have doubts.” It kills me to think I am going to be forced to take love advice from a person living a distance away.
If you haven't started reading it, “Somewhere Only We Know” is an excellent read, and I'm sure you'd enjoy it. Not many stories peek my interest, and many more fail to cause a continuance, but this one, for sure, has my attention. Cailen proved to be a more proficient writer than I once believed (I know, but the graphics arts guys are typically nerds. Proven wrong once again.), and I'm grateful for his contribution. Thanks, Cail, for a great story, and I wasn't kidding when I said I wanted quicker chapters