, 13-26 May 2006

Sunday, 28 May 2006 07:45 Douglas Hoffman
"La Géométrie"
"The Storyteller Is Dead, Long Live the Storyteller"
"His Big Break"

Ultrashort story whiz Bruce Holland Rogers sends out three stories a month to his subscribers. Rogers seems to have no limits when it comes to style or genre. These three span the gamut from a failed romance with an ending reminiscent of O. Henry ("La Géométrie"), to thoughtful allegory ("The Storyteller is Dead, Long Live the Storyteller"), to punchy surrealism ("His Big Break").

"La Géométrie" is a tale of unrequited college love. Dan has a crush on Rain, who has a crush on Dan’s friend, Joseph. Rain foils every one of Dan’s romantic advances. The resolution of this triangle, while amusing, stretches psychological plausibility. Nevertheless, as I write this, the ending still has me smiling.

In the allegorical "The Storyteller is Dead, Long Live the Storyteller," the protagonist is forever doomed to tell an unwanted story to an unforgiving crowd. The story is a Gordian knot of admirable complexity for such a short piece; its conclusion suggests that stories have a life of their own apart from the storyteller, and perhaps the appearance of multiple storytellers is an illusion. One story, one storyteller, even if names and faces shift. The audience also remains the same, equally hostile and resistant to the storyteller’s message despite a change in venue.

"His Big Break" is indeed ultrashort—a one paragraph vignette describing the fate of an actor willing to do anything for success. Some folks might be pleased with this disturbingly surreal piece, but for me, over-the-top metaphor is neither shocking nor fresh.