By Aj Hayes
Years ago I was diving at Martinique in the French Carribean. At place called Diamond Rock. I was at about 130 feet, just loafing along looking at the broken coral, sand and sea grass bottom when something caught my eye. At that depth, all color has for the most part vanished to be replaced with the ocean's endless monochrome blues, grays and blacks.
But suddenly in the midst of all the subdued pallet, I was hit square in the eyes by a spot of indescribably brilliant, neon yellow. Turned out it was a small sponge that somehow retained the ability to show its incandescent natural yellow in the colorless depths of the sea. It shocked me, that sponge, snapped me out of my undersea revery like a cattle prod to my, um, nether regions. I wondered how and why the small entity had gained the ability to stay so vivid. I still don't know.
A Good Day by Darren Sant has that characteristic. It's set in a colorless, hopeless world at the bottom of the heap. In a place as dark as the abyss. So dark that the abyss has a clearer view of things than the people existing there.
There's a seagull. Not a pretty one. A sort of last chance, dingy winged seagull making its precarious living off of alley scraps. And this guy. This broke down, sneak thief, heroin riddled guy on the far end of survival. Plus there's this kid. In trouble and scared and silent and hopeless and nobody cares. Except maybe this guy we talked about already. He does something this guy. He does something that startles me as much as the sponge did shining out in the depths. And for a moment I think: Maybe. But then . . . well . . . remember where you are, boyo.
But you know, I remember that yellow sponge. How it made me feel.
I'll remember A Good Day also. How it made me feel.
I think you will too.
Polished, poignant review. Thanks, my friend.ReplyDelete
I've read some of Mr. Sant's work online and enjoyed it. Just picked up the novel and it's in the TBR.
A fine review, A J, if a little different. I'll be picking it up. I was lucky enough to have published Darren at The Flash Fiction Offensive. He's a fine writer and has another piece coming up at TFFO soon.ReplyDelete
I've bought it. I'd buy a copy of the review, too. A good friend of mine opened a story with the line 'I have been superceded by a red bucket'. You brought that back to me. Shiny things make one think of shiny things. Thanks.ReplyDelete
Cheers AJ brilliant review. Thanks also for the kind words David.ReplyDelete
Thanks also for buying Nigel.