Young Harry's back yard began as any other normal yard. It was flat. But over the years, as Harry grows into adulthood, his yard begins to be not so flat. As he raises a family, the yard becomes a troubling descent. Growing older, Harry begins to see the yard as something to be feared. A novelette....
|Title||:||The World that Slid Downhill|
|Format Type||:||Kindle Edition|
|Number of Pages||:||206 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The World that Slid Downhill Reviews
I have a very high regard for Jason Reeser both as a friend and also as an author. He has catholic tastes and there are always elements of surprise to be discovered in his works, be it in his fiction, short stories or a recently written travel book on Paris. So I eagerly looked forward to reading this novelette.The title first of all intrigued me and that is indeed what the book is about but not the sort I had imagined.The opening paragraph sets the scene for the book:“It took something in the neighbourhood of twenty years for Harry to realize that the world was sliding downhill. Harry was not an observant kind of man.”From the time Harry was a boy he knew that the world was round, whereas his back yard was flat but can you imagine that with the passage of time, through to his own grandchildren, he saw this yard gradually dropping off at the end and slowly advancing towards the house. The first indication that there was something wrong becomes apparent when he decides to fertilize his lawn, the result being that the grass grew exceptionally well at the end but the rest hardly did anything. Then Harry announced: “Why is the grass down there so green” was his immediate thought and he knew there was something about this sentence that bothered him. It took his son Walt’s confirmation that the former flat yard was now sloping down to the back, towards the fence. What was going on here he wondered. How could this be happening? Harry didn’t like this one little bit. The way things were going, he reasoned, the slope in the yard would get lower and lower until the house just dropped into the abyss.To see the thinking process of Harry over the years about what he was going to do with this problem is really quite remarkable. There are some amusing incidents with his children Marta and Wally, and in addition there was his wife Dotty to be taken into consideration. Although Harry knew that Dotty was frightened about this situation, it was never discussed. There was no mention of a fence being erected or some other remedial action. That’s often the way in life though isn’t it, when worrying thoughts are often not discussed.And finally he finds a solution, in reality two, and so does Dotty. Well what a remarkable and unexpected ending. That was certainly a turn up for the books. I would never have had the imagination for that.This is an excellent story by a gifted author. And also such a seemingly simple story that brings to life so many surprises.
I recently read The World That Slid Downhill, and to be honest, I didn't think I was going to like this story as much as I did. For the basics, the story involves the lifetime of man who grows up in the same house where his backyard continues to slope further and further down over the years until it is practically a chasm/cliff. But no one else seems to notice what's going on, or they do, but they're not really paying attention.The story reminded me very much of Kafka's Metamorphosis, in which a man wakes up one day as a giant bug. Like Kafka's story, the real element that drives the story isn't the surreal moment (the bug in Kafka and the hill in Reeser), but the world around the main character as he tries to deal with his new circumstances in some viable way. The bug, or the hill, becomes a metaphor for something bigger, like the struggle to survive itself. For Reeser's story, the struggle is with life or at least the beginning and end of one's life, as well as the time that exists between both poles. In this time, the main character grows a family, lives a significant point of existence and suffers the losses that come from having been alive in a normal lifetime.I highly recommend this story to anyone who has an interest in avant garde, or post-modernist writing, or just anyone who likes a well written story. I'm curious to see what other types of writing he will do in the future, and am anxious to see how well he can pull off this sort of writing in a novel length type of work.
Jason Reeser's The World That Slid Downhill is a story about a normal, even mundane, life in which inexplicably strange events suddenly occur. In this way it reminds one of the writing of Franz Kafka, although it is kinder and gentler than much of Kafka's stories. It is told with a great deal of affection for the narrator, Harry, and there is slightly sad, whimsical sense about the tale. The story is told in short, straightforward sentences that emphasize the normality of the world into which strangeness has descended. As a child Harry's world, which consisted mostly of his family's back yard, was flat, as it should be for most children, who have no sense of the passage of time, or of things slipping away. As Harry ages, the back yard begins to slope downhill, getting steeper and steeper as he nears the end of his days. This change is incomprehensible to Harry, but we quickly understand that it is a fitting metaphor for his life and his fear of his own approaching mortality. As he gets older he worries constantly about the precariously steep hill, always wondering if he'll ever slip down. Even as he becomes a father and grandfather the fear of unexpectedly sliding down this hill haunts him. Eventually, when he is ready to go, he makes the decision to set off on the trip down the slope, perhaps fortunate that he can manage to do so on his own terms. At the story's end, which is simple and sweet, yet inevitable, we can smile for having experienced a man's entire lifetime in so few pages.