To start, Impetus of Faith (Chapter 1) is not, in fact, a short story. It’s the first chapter of a book. There are at least 10 chapters, from what I could see on Ms. Chand’s website. That being said, I’ll go on, because I did find it to be self-contained enough to fit my fairly loose definition of a short story.
The story starts 10 months after some kind of tragedy. But the reader doesn’t really know this. The first words are simply “10 months later”. I struggle with this story telling technique because, while yes, it makes me want to keep reading to find out what happened 10 months ago, it also irritates me because I would be perfectly capable of understanding via the narrative that something happened in the past that lead to the scene I am reading. I feel this is a bit of spoon-feeding, and shows a lack of trust in the reader.
However, I forged ahead, and I’m so glad I did! This story details the aftermath of a tragedy that has befallen a couple. We meet Evelyn, the long-suffering woman who blames herself for the tragedy, though she does seem to be on the brink of self-revelation about the nature of what happened. I immediately sympathized with her, and there was no changing my mind after that.
Carter, the other half of this couple, seems all too content to let Evelyn take the blame. He arranges a therapy session for her, is unmoving despite Evelyn’s reticence at going, and is accusatory in his reasoning. “Someone has to be sane here,” and “You need a therapist,” are just two of the gems he uses, disguising his demand as care and worry for his partner. Instead, he is not only placing the responsibility of recovery solely on Evelyn, but is also absolving himself of any role he had in both the tragedy and the recovery. I do not like Carter.
Evelyn submits, and has a session with Dr. Avery. It is during this session that we learn what happened (which I won’t spoil), and we really come to terms with the idea that Carter is not a great person. We don’t know if what happened was intentional. But we, the objective reader, can see that the blame in the situation is unfairly placed on Evelyn.
All of this serves to create an interesting and vivid glimpse into a tragic situation. Ms. Chand does an excellent job of creating emotional turmoil and detailing scenes and interactions that make the reader feel viscerally uncomfortable. The tension, emotional and otherwise, is palpable. And then, there is the last line of the story. BOOM! I won’t say any more, but I will say I cannot wait to continue reading!
There are some grammatical and punctuation errors. The story seems like it could use a final line edit, and some of the setting descriptions fall flat. But the story is excellent. I’m drawn in, and I want you to be drawn in too. Check out Chapter 1 of Impetus of Faith right here.
Official Kristine’s BRF Rating:
Photo courtesy of Matus Hatala via Unsplash.