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  • TITLE: We Are All Completely Fine
  • AUTHOR: Daryl Gregory
  • PUBLICATION YEAR: 2014
  • AWARDS: WFA; S. Jackson Award
  • WEBSITE: http://darylgregory.com/

SPOILERS!!LEAVE!!SPOILERS!!YOU SHOULDN'T BE HERE ANYWAY!!SPOILERS!!SPOILERS!!LEAVE!!

First off, there's a prequel called Harrison Squared published this year. Secondly, this book won both the World Fantasy Award and the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novella of 2014. And third, you've read this book before, just not like this.

 

We were a team of professional insomniacs. Once you know there are monsters under the bed, closing your eyes becomes a foolhardy act. So, we paced. We stared into the dark. We listened for the creak of the opening door. . . It's the monster with a thousand faces. The details matter only to the next victims.

Dr. Jan Sayer, psychiatrist, p.148-9

 

Nothing is as it seems, kinda. Accordingly, the narrative voice gets dissembled. In chapter one, we meet all the players as a psych doctor opens her first meeting with five chosen trauma survivors, some of them she knows from previous therepy. The delivery method is third-person limited, except the "limited" person changes characters or is never introduced in the first place. "There were six of us in the beginning"(p.1) says an obvious voice, and the first subjective example is "Harrison thought"(p.2), so you ride with him through 20 pages of character interaction, until the text says, "Yep, he thought. Definitely the craziest of us." Yet it is followed with, "the rest of us were not so sure"(p.20), denying Harrison as the only inside narrator. Doesn't mean "omniscent", 'cause it's not "them", it's "us", hinting at an embedding that's, ah, anonymous.

So, who's holding the canted "me" card? We know who "us" is, but who are you? Ahhh, grasshopper. . .

Chapter two, and it's Barbara leading the character parade. Maybe it's a good time to intro the players, eh?

Dr Jan

Harrison Harrison

Stan

Martin

Barbara

Greta

 

 

 

 

 

 

text only © copyright 11/20/2015 by Larry Crawford

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