‘Iona Moon’ by Melanie Rae Thon

Iona Moon by Melanie Rae Thon, 1991

The magic trick:

Letting the reader connect as they will Iona’s backstory to her present decisions

It’s not an easy story. Some of the subject matter is graphic and difficult. But the resulting story is certainly powerful.

The story expertly uses background information to recast the present tense of its narrative in a new light. It’s never clunky or awkward in making those connections. But clearly as you learn more about Iona’s past, the reader is better able to assess the decisions she makes in the story.

Perhaps an obvious technique, but it works very well here.

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

The selection:

Iona buzzed up and down Main, feeling strong riding up high in the cab of Daddy’s red truck, looking down on cars and rumbling over potholes too fast. Daddy kept a coil of rope, a hacksaw and a rifle in the back behind the seat. She had no intention, no intention at all, but she swung down Willow Glen Road, past Jay Tyler’s house. She honked her horn at imaginary children in the street, stomped on her brakes and laid rubber to avoid a cat that wasn’t there; but all that noise didn’t lure anyone out of the Tyler house, and no lights popped on upstairs or down. In the green light of dusk, the house looked gray and cool, a huge lifeless thing waiting to crumble.

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