‘Accident Brief’ by Karen Russell

Accident Brief by Karen Russell, 2006

The magic trick:

Masterfully blending pathos, humor, setting, and suspense

Awesome early Karen Russell story today on the SSMT website. Might be my favorite of hers.

This is a story where Russell aims at four key things and connects on each: family life pathos, humor, dramatic setting, suspense.

Emphasis on the last one there.

This story is legitimately suspenseful. It’s a rescue story, first and foremost. So with all those other things established – family drama, setting, and jokes – you can settle into the edge-of-your-seat nature of the plot, while actually caring about what happens.

And that’s quite a trick on Russell’s part.

The selection:

Steve #2 hands us an ice axe and a sack lunch. My ice axe is crusted with triangles of rust or blood. My sack lunch is salami. The ice pilots start to load up the planes. Steve #3 does a head count and frowns down at the manifest.

“Franz Josef? There are some names missing on the manifest.”

A whispered conference. Brows furrow in our direction. Franz smiles at us, and I catch a whiff of conspiracy.

“Mr. Gibson, Mr. Oamaru, Mr. Brauser, there’s been an, ah, error of logistics. You boys don’t mind waiting for an extra plane? Very sure? Most certain? Well.”

As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.

Subscribe to the Short Story Magic Tricks Monthly Newsletter to get the latest short story news, contests and fun.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s