The week’s best online fiction, with recommendations from FictionDaily’s editors.

The Yellow Boat” by David RitchieArbutus

Putting pen to paper to describe a scene, a feeling, or a moment is just as necessary and artful as fabricating a complex narrative for consumption. But what’s the art in it? Personally I know there’s a difference between sitting on a dock near a lake and seeing a yellow boat and hearing children’s voices in the gloaming, and then doing all that and feeling so moved by the quiet of it that I have to write it down. That movement–the movement to script–must be an ancient state of consciousness, the same kind of consciousness that painted the forms of tigers on cave walls 35,000 years ago. This story by David Ritchie is just like that. Only it takes place at a dock with a yellow boat in the gloaming. Enjoy the art of it.–Reviewed by David Backer

Lies W/Exceptions” by Andrew Borgstrom, New Dead Families

Andrew Borgstrom’s contribution to the fourth issue of New Dead Families is about a family man. He has a wife and daughter. But his ancestry is uncertain, or in a state of flux. This is perhaps why his present is so confused. “Or” functions throughout, mapping out forking points in sometimes starkly divergent realities (tubes) in which the narrator is equally likely to participate, equally at home in whichever element. His grandmother is called either “the bus driver” OR “the scuba diver.” His daughter is equally likely to request M&Ms OR S&M, after riding her bike under a bus OR not. This kind of multi-dimensional tube-tripping may be the only way for his daughter as well. She wants to do everything. “Jump on a heater. Lay on a shelf.”–Reviewed by Ryan Nelson

Touch” by Jesse Goolsby, Our Stories

Crisp and flowing prose tells, in a simple voice, of the cost of warfare, both global and heartbreakingly personal. It is writing like a statue, a familiar form in a posture of drama, composed with a simple and practiced hand, and possessed of rich significance within its precious materials. It is the political, psychic and familial that make “Touch” so precious. Those qualities are valuable currency to our hearts, making this a story that’s as effective as it is meaningful.–Reviewed by Matt Funk



 

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