Saturday, July 11, 2015

I Can See Right Through You, by Kelly Link

McSweeney's Quarterly 48

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/pages/i-can-see-right-through-you

A 2015 World Fantasy Award nominee for short fiction.

This is the story of a Demon Lover, or an aging actor still playing af ageless vampire he first played twenty years ago.

It's the story of his relationship with his co-star, Meggie, who is the one enduring relationship in his life even as they both flit from lover to lover, occasionally getting married.

It's the story of a nudist colony where years ago the nudists mysteriously disappeared. Now, Meggie's latest tv series, Who's There?, is filming an episode there, looking for supernatural or otherwise mysterious forces. The Demon Lover turns up, fresh off the break-up of his latest marriage, convinced Meggie is the one he should have been with all along. Meggie has her latest lover, Ray, with her, and he's--twenty years younger, looking remarkably like the Demon Lover at the start of his career.

And nothing goes right during the few days there. They find no malign forces, no hint of the supernatural, and only one person disappears. Or perhaps two. Or three. It's not necessarily 100% clear.

The initial sections are sufficiently nonlinear and oblique that I had difficulty getting an initial handle on the story. The techniques used were, for me, off-putting and distancing. And in the end I didn't really care what happened to the Demon Lover. He's just another aging, self-absorbed actor not aware of much beyond the end of his own nose.

Obviously this is not a reaction universally shared, or it wouldn't be a World Fantasy Award nominee, but for myself, I can't come to any other conclusion than--

Not recommended.