Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Short Fiction Review: "Time and Art" by Barbara Krasnoff


This is one of those stories which I reflexively hate.  It's an Art-with-a-capital-A story and I despise those. Yet here it works.

"Time and Art" by  Barbara Krasnoff is very spare and very short. There is not a word wasted in it. This is a virtue. But it makes it hard to describe the story without giving too much away.

Let me try:

A woman, the protagonist, goes to a wise woman and begs her to give her the time she needs to create her art. The woman is a seamstress and weaver (kudos to Krasnoff for  not making her a poet or a painter!), the enemies of her art are the quotidian  chores and domestic obligations we are all too familiar with, and the wise woman is truly wise for she first offers a practical solution before resorting to magic. 

This being, as I said, an extremely short story, I can offer no more specifics. But I can say that the structure is flawless, that in the resolution the woman's daughter rings in the dark side of creation without spoiling the triumphant conclusion, and that the wise woman is rewarded in a way that happily reiterates her wisdom.

Reader, read this. New or gonnabe writer, study but do not try to emulate it just yet. It surely took Krasnoff long years to be able to boil down this story to its essence. Be patient. You'll  get there too.

This is a perfect little gem of a story. 


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