Two people waiting on a bench. It’s the basis of so many stories, and yet, each one is rife with possibilities. And Barbara Avon dives right in with The Last Hour.
In The Last Hour, Barbara creates the very snapshot of an everyday moment that roils with suspense and possibility. When two lives collide over a mundane experience – like waiting for something – there is every possibility that nothing will happen. But then again, there’s always the equal chance that something will happen. And it’s in that process of discovering which way the story will go, that we, the reader, get to experience the joyful agony of waiting along with the characters.
To create the suspense of the moment, elements of the story, and particularly of one of the characters, are left vague. In fact, I felt as though I was missing a key element of the story – namely, why the protagonist was there and why her journey (no spoilers!) was so important to her. I felt that this part of the story could have been developed a little more for clarity. But ultimately it is this vagueness, which admittedly at times feels a little too deliberate, which imbues the story with the creeping sensation that that mystical something is burbling beneath the surface. Originally I was left unimpressed by the parts of the story I didn’t know. But as I thought more and more about it, I think it’s that feeling of still waiting that is the brilliant aspect in Barbara’s story.
There are a few passages that were slightly less than graceful, and the story could use one last pass for those errant awkward sentences, but all in all The Last Hour is a fine outing that contains some very beautiful, powerful, and foreboding imagery. Without giving anything away, I particularly enjoyed the images of a passing neighborhood child dropping his ice cream, bare legs stuck to a plastic bench, and my favorite, a breath of hot air as the consolation prize for the lack of a desperately needed breeze.
Official Kristine’s BRF Rating:
Photo courtesy of Thomas Le via Unsplash