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This story is a lot less appealing to me than “Hard Times” was. Probably because it has a lot less of a wow factor, however, it is a still interesting in theory.

The first thing I notice about Rash’s stories is that he introduces the main character instantly.  As the first sentence in “Hard Times” leaves the reader wondering about Jason, the first sentence in “Back of Beyond” leaves the reader wondering about Parson. This is a very effective way to get the reader invested in the character before they have time to even analyze the story. For example, the sentence “When Parson drove to his shop that morning, the sky was the color of lead,” tells us right away that Parson owns a shop, that the story will be discussing specific events on “that” day, and foreshadows the type of story it will be (waking up to a sky the color of lead is bad news).  As the first page moves on, we begin to feel sympathetic for Parson and his dismal every day life. This is a good way to connect the reader to the story.

I really like the ways he organizes his words. “He saw where the bones, impatient; poked at her cheeks and chin.” (pg. 21) Using unlikely verbs to describe inanimate objects is one of the coolest things a writer can do. The idea of impatient bones leaves me thinking of all the possible meanings, yet directs me to the exact idea Rash was attempting to convey, very tricky and interesting.

It is also very tactful how Rash connects Parson to his family without explaining the relationships directly, but rather the history between the characters. This is in the middle of page 26. He could have simply said. Ray is Parson’s brother but instead spends the entirety of the paragraph explaining the already mentioned Ray, Danny, and Farm, and how they are intertwined into each other’s lives.

“Back of Beyond” does a good job conveying a “day in the life” feeling. It doesn’t provide excessive (or barely any) background information, no extra drama or crazy twists. Parson does not indulge in memories or nostalgia. He apathetically trudges through his day. This is a fine example of straight, to the point fiction about how a man deals with what life has handed him. Its honesty and simplicity has enlightened me to sometimes do away with complexity and drama. A story is a story no matter how it resolves.

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