Borderlands

A Story

by Skip Horack

I started out reading this thinking, "I don't care about this, another bloody dead girl in the swamp story, capitalizing on sensational, brutal, so-called realism." But I was wrong, so wrong. Horack's prose flows, drawing you along like a smooth river whose current is much stronger than the deceptively smooth surface would have you think. You can't stop, and you don't want to. I was moved to tears at the end. Why? It's impossible to say, and that is what makes this a very very good story. It moves you, but for no obvious or contrived heavy-handed moral-of-the-story reason. This was a real pleasure to read, and it makes me understand why the collection it came from won the prize from Breadloaf.

I really enjoyed this story. It reminded me of a Hemingway, which is good. The setting was excellent, and the dialogue, everything was very well done. I know when I've had such a good read, and I wish there could be more. Great work!

A beautiful story with all the components I love: a young man; a murder; and the racket of snow geese. Today Skip Horack is new to my list, tomorrow he'll be a favorite. I can't wait to read more.

This story put me in mind of the quality of Carson McCullers's work. I'll watch out for Skip Horack's further work. Best thing I've read in more than a few months.

I thought this was a wonderfully written and well balanced coming-of-age American short story. Moving and elegiac. The precise prose style reminded me of Richard Ford – specifically his short story collection Rock Springs. And perhaps a little of Cormac McCarthy – especially when Wes and Comeaux are talking. In fact, I’m wondering if the story title “Borderlands” and the story’s theme were partially inspired by McCarthy’s Border triology?

It was just a great story at a quick pace that I personally enjoy. Not a single unnecessary word. Very well done.


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