Thursday, 9 August 2012

Dennis and Dad (A Short Story)

The short story is an art form which I believe is about to undergo a renaissance due to changes in publishing. I personally prefer to read novellas and short stories on my Kindle rather than full length novels, but the problem is finding really good ones. I recently received a free copy of Dennis & Dad by Giselle Renarde through Goodreads and I'm pleased to say it's one of the best short stories I've read in a while.

This is a deceptively simple short story which actually has quite a few layers of meaning when you later think back on it. It is a snapshot of a moment in the main character Chris' life when he has to face up to the fact that his ageing father's mental health is deteriorating quite rapidly. The story is set on father's day, which also happens to be Chris' 38th birthday. This is very meaningful because the story is also a meditation on fatherhood and what it means to be a family. It also marks a significant moment in Chris' journey towards maturity when he must not only deal with his father's frailty, but also his own unconscious prejudices.

I found it interesting that Dennis seems like more of a parental figure to Chris than either of his biological parents. I also liked the way his father gave voice to Chris' deep-seated bigotry which he guessed at himself but couldn't openly acknowledge. The small gesture at the end is very meaningful and reminds me of all the reasons I love short stories because every single word counts. There is a lot of meaning packed into this story, showcasing the author's ability.

Reading intelligent stories like this makes my brain feel good!

5 stars from me.

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