Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book Review: The Clerk's Guest by George Moore

by M. J. Joachim
Updated 4/22/16

Obsession often catches us unaware; before we know it, we are driven toward a path no one could ever suspect, least of all ourselves. Much like complacency, obsession manifests predictable outcomes for the casual observer. Complacency being defined as someone being completely satisfied and obsession defined as someone completely absorbed and preoccupied, make for cozy cousins in my mind. 

Though they have their contradictions, these two words also have a lot in common. They are, in effect, self-consuming traits which enable others to presume a person’s future actions, based on habits exhibited frequently by the person we observe. 

Combining these two seemingly diverse, yet very similar traits, into a manuscript requires not only skill, but a peculiar thought process to adequately express their overall similarity, despite their only too obvious differences. Making what appears to be completely unpredictable come to life, and cause a reader to shake his head as if to say, “Duh!” is not an arbitrary response without bringing literature to life through its characters. 

Don’t take my word for it, please. Instead take a few moments to read The Clerk’s Guest by George Moore. It’s another of the many short stories I read over the summer, one that, while I so easily could have predicted the outcome, never had a clue until I read it.

Something very good came from reading classic short stories in recent months. These are the types of manuscripts that teach us how to write, without instructing us through rote memorization and tedious, time-consuming practice exercises. Experiencing a story is so much better than reading it anyway, which is why we have a treasured library of classics to be studied time and time again.

That’s all for now good people. Until next time, I wish you well!

M. J.

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