Archive | February, 2018

“Bad Bone” by Mehreen Ahmed

24 Feb

Bad Bone by Mehreen Ahmed: Publisher Storyland Literary Review


The cafe hummed a note of non-rhythmic jingle. I sat with a glass of sparkling water reading Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night; deep in reading,I took a sip occasionally. As it stands, the passages of infidelity bothered me more than the stylistic complexity of the book. It resonated of something that I did not wish to remember. A wind picked up just outside the glassed window. My attention diverted because of an intermittent, yet twiggy knock on the pane. A tall gum tree stood just outside; a sudden blast tore off a branch and felled it on the sill. I looked at it briefly and resumed with my study of the characters.

A sea of snow; the whispering winds of quietness. I reflected on a placid icy slope of a winter afternoon; silent like a still painting, my face stood out amongst the cafe crowd. Not a sore thumb, as…

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An open letter to Mehreen Ahmed from Joan Eyles Johnson, the winner of the Earnest Hemingway Prize for short fiction, 2016: Moirae by Mehreen Ahmed.

11 Feb

Dear Mehreen,

As an English teacher, I found some of it disturbing with spelling errors and switching back and forth with punctuation and long passages that seem unconnected, or maybe a short story in a longer story and the inconsistency of the narrator who seems to know some grand literature and makes me wonder how it was learned in a poor country. In other words, it confusing and difficult as an English teacher to read.

Now as a writer, I am impressed by the literary references, the beautiful and often lush descriptive metaphors and strong storytelling talent that continues throughout the book. I see the stream-of-consciousness and juxtaposition of styles as following Ezra Pound’s “Make it new.”

As a teacher of creative writing, I would tighten up many spots that I see to jar the reader or even yank the reader violently from one narrative to another.

Over all, Moirae is a beautiful example of an earnest attempt at a new kind of writing, and that is commendable, however, I wish I could talk with you as you completed each chapter, which by the way is beautifully divided and managed. I like the Faulknerian switch in point of view from first chapter to the second. I would have asked you delineate the characters in such a way that their family relationships were made even more clear. The thing I most liked was the strangeness of the setting, the fact that I was never sure of what and where and if in your novel. I like that very much. I like your voice, Mehreen.