Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Book Review: Seen Reading

The Subway is a fascinating place and while all those morning delays would normally be a setback, Julie Wilson decided to be a keen observer of what other people are reading.

The result is Seen Reading, a delectable and unique collection of Microfictions based on her observations and inspired by the books they read. In "Love Will Tear Us Apart", in just a few short sentences, Wilson captures a tender moment between a couple that are devoted to each other, and in naming it after the Joy Division song of the same title, she adds a soulful element. 

The opening line is so precise that the reader immediatey visualizes the couple sharing the holidays:

"Their first Christmas together, they held hands in bed and promised that even if one of them ended up in a wheelchair, they'd stay together."

In contrast, Wilson's tone in "Simmer", the microfiction inspired by Stephen King's Misery, she is able to create a chilling feeling simply out of a woman cooking stew.  For example, her choice of the word "scratching" is key to adding an element of creepiness:

"She turns down the burner heat and lets the stew simmer, scratching her ankle with the heel of her piggy slipper."

Just like the Subway is deceptively simple, these stories show the complexity of relationships. They also explore the growing pains of youth, and the humor that can be found in life when you least expect it.  One would think you'd need a novel to make your heart ache, but these stories achieve it with such minimal language, that it is a feat to be proud of. Get caught with Seen Reading!

Seen Reading

By Julie Wilson
Freehand Books
181 pages, $21.95

--- Leticia Cambre, blogs at artsynews.posterous.com

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