Literary Reviews, Page 16

"Numbers" (continued)

Browsing through offerings from The Stickman Review, one particular aspect of the zine that I noted was that it seems to present an unusually high percentage of stories written in the third person, which I find a welcome respite from the usual I-sore of first person stories which dominate and plague literary works; and I didn’t encounter any written in the present tense, another welcome novelty from “novelty.” I like the aura of objectivity and omniscience that the traditional third person narrator lends to a work of fiction.

An excellent example of such a piece is “Numbers,” [The Stickman Review; Volume 3, Number 2] by Katherine Vondy. The piece’s protagonist is a thirty-two-year-old bank analyst named Joan. She is a math whiz and devotee who seems to worship at the altar of Einstein; with life—including (and especially) her own—being less something one lives and experiences, as more a phenomenon one observes and graphs as stagnant points within the space-time continuum.

She also would seem to be sympathetic to the wisdom of Solomon as expressed in Ecclesiastes. As the venerable sage-king admonished, Joan firmly believes there is a time for everything under the sun and then one moves on. One may look back and observe, but remembering past events in one’s life, by way of identification, would seem to be ridiculous within her view of life, and Joan is above all not a ridiculous person. On the contrary, she is most decidedly “unrediculous,” as are the numbers which she loves and which form the bedrock of her existence.

In what might look to be a classic case of opposites attracting in affairs of the heart, Joan is married to her former high school sweetheart; who, in counterpoint to Joan's hyper-analytical nature, is a professional musician with a creative bent. However, after six years of marriage, the romance of such a scenario has worn thin, and as her husband takes refuge in playing Beethoven sonatas on the home piano, Joan pursues both her profession and avocation with a passionate zeal lacking in her relationship with her gradually orphaned husband. Indeed, about all they seem to agree upon any longer is that their favorite part of Joan’s job is that she makes a lot of money. Musicians presumably do not.

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