Wednesday, April 28, 2010

David Ackley at Fictionaut--Fictionaut Faves Series

Writer and Editor Marcelle Heath of Luna Park Review invited me to contribute a two-paragraph (I turned it into three here) response to one of my favorite Fictionaut stories (and favorite Fictionaut writers). The review appears just below. Take a look at David Ackley's work, the link to which also appears below. It is a revealing and carefully structured first-person narrative:

For its authentic voice and sharp characterization, David Ackley’s story, “Confessions of an I.R.A. Terrorist”, remains one of my Fictionaut Faves. Not only is Ackley’s choice of the first-person vantage point a joy to read (since it so perfectly captures the monologue of a callused but well-meaning London cab driver), the story also astutely scrutinizes the illogical nature of prejudice and the way in which, over a decade, such intolerance and fear have so rapidly changed target.

Through lines like the following one, Ackley reveals the witty resignation of his narrator to the circumstances of his world. Here, the narrator Paddy O'Donovan is referring to a loudspeaker request to move an unattended suitcase from an Underground station: “That's the Brit all over; polite to the last, please and pardon and thank you very much, even as they're about to detonate your undies.” Or a line like this: “When we drive off I raise my middle finger over the roof in salute to my chums and from three cab windows in a line come a brown, black and tan middle finger sending it back to me.”

This is so vividly real, so in character that I can’t imagine this man doesn’t actually exist somewhere in London, maybe drinking a pint and eating crisps from a packet inside his flat in Battersea. It’s a powerful piece of fiction that reveals a great many uncomfortable truths about human nature, both through the narrator's actions and through all those surrounding him.

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