Death on Facebook: short stories for the digital age by Claude Nougat
I find it harder to review a short story collection than I do a full length novel. Instead of looking at one story development and its characters it is necessary to look at and assess multiples. But here I go.
Claude Nougat, in this collection of nine stories, shows she has a nice feel for narrative and dialogue. The quality barely wavers throughout. I say barely because sentence construction in The great hacker heist caused me to pause and re-read, and in The ice maker it was unclear to me several times who had spoken or acted.
Short story writing is an art in itself. There isn’t time to flesh out characters but the author has to convey enough in the brief time they have on page for the reader to get at least a feel for them. Same with plot line: for a short story to work the reader has to be immersed immediately as there isn’t time for preamble and scene building. The author shows she is adept at both.
The author also has an easy-to-read style which doesn’t waver throughout the stories which all revolve in some way around the problems thrown up by the digital age, be they cultural or otherwise related. It’s like listening to someone talking to you.
Let me focus on several that resonated particularly. I will not leave you behind: whew, what a story, what an ending, so matter-of-fact, so beautifully told. Diary of a 98 year old lady: so sadly real.The prince and the art dealer with its sing-song quality. It immediately brought to mind One thousand and one nights and The emperor’s new clothes.