Harmony is an ambitious and action packed story that confronts some deeply emotional and religious issues. On many levels, this story delivers: the author expertly paints a realistic setting that, if you’ve ever been to Afghanistan (I have), effectively summons the memories of that place. The characters are realistic and relatable.
Our protagonist. The author creates a tormented character who is interesting and clearly being set up for some traumatic conflict. His struggle is understandable, at least for me, and I think his struggles are entirely realistic. This is a character that the reader wants to follow to the end of the story.
Plot: Although a dramatization to be sure, and to a degree predictable, I couldn’t help but dread every turn that brought David closer to his soon to be captors. With the haunting memory of the video burned into his mind, it was with a sickening feeling that the reader becomes resigned to the struggle that unfolds.
Weakness: There are two key pieces of this that I felt were not thoroughly convincing. The first is the rational conversion of the primary antagonist. Perhaps it was the abbreviated nature of the short story, but it’s difficult to believe that a religious zealot would so thoroughly change perspectives in such radical fashion. There may be the need to demonstrate David’s victory differently in order to keep the gritty realism that the majority of the story boasts.
Second is the conflict between religions. Now, don’t get me wrong. I think this element of the story is both promising and tantalizing. But the first time we hear of David being a Christian is on p33. He draws most of his strength from the words of his boss, not his God. If the story was to be a last minute conversion, I think more needs to go into demonstrating this. If David had some anchor in his faith, then that wasn’t explained at all.
Finally, a couple of very minor technical points:
P8 “She squealed out putting her coffee mug down.” Reads awkwardly.
33 “Not holly.” An extra “L”…
This is a well crafted story that speaks especially to those who have considered the nature of extremism. Entertaining and engrossing. Good job, nick74.
Review of: Harmony
reviewed by W.E. Linde on 01/31/2011
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