The Far Side of the Lake – by Steve Rasnic Tem
It is hard to address this long story, nail the quotes, set out the themes echoing the rest of the book so far (like a maze of back-doubles in right-of-way disputes or the explicit ’sleepwalking’ of driving a car without a GPS as in the earlier story) – but this story of an aging-before-his time man (like me?) with a grown-up son and daughter (like me) and a wife (like me) now deceased (unlike my wife) – this unbearably sad story is a miracle cure, too. A paradox. But that’s what’s great about dark literature when it’s successful, as this is. I can’t enumerate all the connections, the skilful ignitions of emotion and metaphor and image, the ‘glass doors’, the removal of trees (treebooks?), the party across the lake, like the fire seen from the earlier train (like those ‘sea trees’ above on this website page), your blood children as a memory-investment, the inter-generational care for your young ones and then those young ones, later, caring for those who once cared for them, the vision of ghosts and insects (flies) again, a mountain bullying the sky, a man in his sixties, like me, who needs to be warned against making faux pas etc., a man facing or having faced tragedy as we all must face it one day, groceries in a shop for him like foreign objects, photos of one’s loved ones propped up in their frames as if by ‘crutches’, his eyes ‘leaking’ again rather than weeping, news of a young star dying suddenly (just like the news of Whitney Houston today as I write this). A masterpiece, this story. Never to be forgotten. Literature like one has children – as a precious investment, not necessarily for yourself, but for posterity to benefit as you will indirectly from that very posterity or you do benefit from it now by knowing satisfyingly that that posterity is assured. Both selfish and selfless. That oxymoron again bubbling within the lake, waiting for that fisherman who is waiting for something to happen in this story who may now hook it to the shore. “But they were spectres, flickering, beating desperately against the inside of the glass as their lights began to fade.” (12 Feb 12 – another 3 hours later)
Quoted from the review here.