White Space

A Story

by Janet Burroway

Dear Janet,

As a former and devoted Teaching Assistant at Florida State, and your then-student, I still had that mind-set when I heard you read a story like this--if not this one--at a conference at the University. Reading it now, just as a story, I am able to allow art to "make that pleasant to contemplate, which would be painful to experience, or even, in life, to witness," to quote Austin Warren. But hearing it read, I really suffered, fearing the temptation it was to allow such--to allow what the "goat men" indulge with frail and trusting students. As ever, with your work, it is sensuously real, and yet, as your character's being is-- it is overlaid with intellect, even word games, even authority as a teacher, to separate the narrator and the reader from the common-ness of what will take place--in, thank God, White Space.

Punchy lyrics for the slight disturbances of man (okay, in this case, of woman).

It took me a minute to get into the feel of this piece. I was determined not to like it for that reason. However, it won me over and makes me want to play with words and fragments more.

Also, I thought the narrator felt genderless.

After reading "White Space" I felt punch drunk. Why? The story was pumping with vital fluids, vibrant emotions (however choppy they seemed), flawed, yet flawless rendering of the here and now.

Incredible. One of the best, if not the best, short story I've read this year. Burroway is a genius. The connections to Otis Redding, Dobie Gray, and Escher artwork all came together to form a powerful story.

The imagery in particular lingers deeply within me. The use of the stream-of-consciousness narrative is likewise some of the best I've read in a piece of short literary fiction in a very long time. Well done.


We would love to hear from you.
To make comments, join Narrative.
It's FREE and easy!