Tim Johnston's IRISH GIRL

Sara Jaffe

Like music, stories have dynamics. There are the louder and the softer moments, the crescendos and the rests, and the author achieves these expressive elements through a careful mix of tone, language, and plot elements. It’s difficult, in literature, to pull off an abrupt dynamic shift—unlike, say, in rock music, where it can be enough for the Pixies to launch from a whispered verse to a chorus’s gut-rupturing yell. Much literature thrives, rather, on dynamic tension, on elevating “quiet,” mundane events, to an unexpected forte, and on the containing of the louder moments of human existence—murder, betrayal, loss, violence—within focused, poetically precise language.


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