Season of Stories: ‘The Bed Moved’ or ‘http://www.msjiz/boxx374/mpeg’ by Rebecca Schiff

At the time of writing, I think I have to say this is my least favourite of the stories I’ve received through the Season of Stories initiative. Whilst with ‘Dumpster Diving with the Stars’ and ‘Full Body’ I was left on the Friday considering whether to buy the short fiction collection from which those works originated, I did not have the same response to ‘http://www.msjiz/boxx374/mpeg’ (titled in Season of Stories ‘The Bed Moved’). I struggled to connect to the characters, and found the narrative somewhat lacking in direction.

Similarly to ‘Full Body’, this is a very character-driven narrative with the main action revolving around a seemingly small moment. The main character is on the computer her father left in the house after his death and there discovers a saved video of topless women boxing; this necessarily gets her thinking more deeply about the person her father was as well as the assumptions she had made about him due to his illness. I can definitely see why Schiff’s writing style has been praised: her tone is understated but with great comedic effect. However, I found it hard to engage with the main character and struggled to see what impact the discovery had really made on her. The relationship with the mother was probably the most interesting part of the narrative, and I was left wishing that more had been made of that.

Overall, this was just not a story that suited the installment format of Season of Stories at all; I could see why it might make an effective work of short fiction if read all in one go, but during the week I was receiving this story in my inbox I was left a little ambivalent after each installment. I definitely noticed how short most of the installments were in comparison to the previous stories and perhaps that contributed to the general flat feeling.

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