I’m way behind on my book review obligations as well as my own writing and reading. Even when I was concussed, I managed to read—it wasn’t a good idea; it wasn’t pleasant, but it was irresistible. May as well tell me not to breathe. But my fall down our back stairs and the resulting injuries and staph infection has brought me low and humble. I haven’t read a complete novel in about three weeks and only a smattering of flash or blog posts. It’s unimaginable that such a thing could occur. The loss of productivity has been devastating. Because, if you can’t or won’t write, you can always read. But that hasn’t been possible. So it is with great enthusiasm that I have finally been reading again and offer a review of CS DeWildt’s fine flash novel, The Louisville Problem.
While I ought to be praising my improving health and motivation to the attentive care of my physician, the miracles of medical science, and the absolutely Nobel-winning level of pampering from my family, it’s DeWildt’s novel that has me reading and writing at 5 am for the first time in days and days and days.
The Louisville Problem by CS DeWildt was a thrilling treat. I expected Southern Gothic but ended up at the knifepoint of raw, taunt Noir from the perspective of a vile and beguiling protagonist, Jasper Skaggs. The rush the reader experiences within this contained narrative focuses on the con: if and how Jasper will pull it off, and DeWildt has created a fine, complex character in Jasper. The reader forms an immediate connection with him and becomes anxious about his exploits. DeWildt also crafts compelling supporting characters. Yet, reader sympathy for their motives, misfortunes, or destructions never quite overwhelms the desire for Jasper to realize a satisfying end. And this is all rich ore for DeWildt to mine for conflict, dramatic tension, character development and thematic resonance. Despite the hard-edge to The Louisville Problem, there’s something lush and decadent about it. I couldn’t stop reading and highly recommend it.
This is the first flash novel I’ve read. It’s different from shorter flash fiction and the short story, and I think that difference exists not so much in experimental contrasts but in its miniaturization of the novel and in DeWildt’s skillful brevity. Nor is it a novella, which permits an author to stretch and extend. Comments? Please. I’d be delighted to discuss the nature of flash and to read your thoughts.
Please find DeWildt and enjoy more of his writing at http://csdewildt.com