Saturday, January 28, 2017

"In Memoriam" by Joanne Harris

"In Memoriam" by Joanne Harris 

This story comes out of the anthology "Dead Letters."  The anthology is edited by Conrad Williams. 

A man named, Carey Loewe, worked in the National Returns Centre for the Royal Mail.  The place where all the lost, return to sender, mail to Santa Claus, or just unmarked packages went when they couldn't find a home or the recipient of the letter or package.  he would open up the letters or packages and look to see if there was any information inside to get the item back to the owner. 

One day he found a letter addressed to Carey Loewe.  He couldn't believe he found a letter addressed to himself.  The sender was Liesel Blau and postmark stamped 1971.  One of the mysteries was that inside the letter was a photograph and USB thumb drive.  Technology that didn't exist in 1971.  He snuck the letter out of the Centre and went home.  He downloaded the thumb drive to his computer while checking out the photo.  On the thumb drive were even more pictures. 

He recognizes himself in all the photos and a little girl.  Slowly memories that he had hidden away start to resurface.  He remembers the little girl.  He remembers the other people in the photographs.  Slowly with each picture, the story takes you a little further into his hidden memories and thoughts.  His life growing up starts to unfold one picture at a time. 

This story did a good job of creating a mysterious circumstance revolving around one person.  It led you to believe there was more that first met the eye.  And then as the story progresses you find out there was more.  There was a lot more. 

It also left you wondering.  What was real and what was imagined.  Was this a man going insane?  Or was something bigger going on?  This story had a little bit of everything.  Mystery, suspense, ghosts (maybe?), childhood memories, and actions that may or may not have been taken.   

The only downside to this story I had is that I think it could have been longer.  The story was great, but it felt like it was a much bigger story forced into a short story.  The plot had a novel feel to it, not so much a short story.  Overall it was a good story, but just felt like it was forced into a short instead of taking advantage of a longer length like a novel, or even a novella.

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