Fickle Feather…

Posted: November 25, 2011 by douglasthompson in Reviews


Ros Jackson at Warpcore SF has reviewed David Rix’s short story collection Feather, warming to the enigmatic and multi-faceted aspects of Feather’s character, giving the book a sound 4 out of 5 stars:

“Feather is a collection of linked short stories which feature an enigmatic wild girl who flits in and out of the narratives. Underfed and barely educated, Feather is emotionally and physically scarred by her experiences, and apt to question everything. She’s also quite strange, rather like the stories she’s involved in…

…The tales are framed by a couple of short narratives in which the author appears as himself, contemplating his creation in conversations with his imaginary sister. This device gets to the heart of Feather: Rix is thinking about what it means to create something, and about fantasy and reality, and about isolation and the search for meaning…

…The author has a very visual and engaging prose style that drew me right in. A lot of the settings are quite bleak: isolated beaches, concrete jungle cityscapes, the loneliness of Dartmoor, or half-empty halls of residence occupied by dirty, impoverished art students, for instance. There’s a touch of melancholy about these places, yet the descriptions of them are vivid and realistic so there isn’t an off-putting atmosphere of gloom. Instead there’s always the feeling that something interesting is about to happen on the next page…

…But these stories portray the world as largely unknowable. Meaning seems elusive and perhaps even impossible to find, and it’s certainly futile to search for it. It’s almost like reading anti-stories. I found this interesting and frustrating in equal measure. Because what is fiction for if not to help us make sense of an irreducibly complex world? Of course we know that life can’t be broken down to a few simple themes and moral lessons, but doing exactly that is part of the charm of stories…

…Feather is a mind-boggle. I can’t decide whether David Rix is being really smart or just annoying when he plays with the concept of the search for understanding. However it’s an entertaining kind of boggling, and I warmed to the character of Feather with her scarred innocence and cheerful practicality, whilst the stories themselves are colourful, strange and surprising.”

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