Letter From a Desperate Father by Maron Anrow
An innocent man has been imprisoned. Hoping to see his son one last time, he composes a letter explaining the devastating event for which he's been blamed.
I read Maron Anrow's Laika in Lisan last year and adored it, so I was delighted when she asked me to read her new short story.
The story comes in the format of a letter, written by a man arrested for attempted murder. Although the above description of the novel describes him as innocent, this is something which can be interpreted widely, and I particularly enjoyed coming to terms with his crime in my own mind.
I had expected the letter to be addressed to the man's son, however instead it seeks the aid and understanding of an unnamed police official. The man simply wants to see his son again, and the further we delve into the story, the reason for this becomes strange, tangled, and paranormal. I had no anticipation of there being supernatural elements in the story, and this is always a welcome feature in any book.
Anrow's narrative is impressive, flowing beautifully and adding suspense with perfection. Her ability to build such full, interesting characters in such a short number of pages, is something to be awed. I loved that many things were left to the reader to interpret and comprehend. The deep personal level of the letter allowed me to sympathise and trust the narrator, however it's only after I finished the story I realised there's a chance I couldn't trust him at all.
Truly wonderful, as I only could have imagined from Anrow. My only criticism is that I want much more; I want to know what happens to the narrator, I want to find out where his wife was from and more about her associations with magic, I want to know if his crime was worthwhile, I want to know the fate of his son and his capability for forgiveness. Maybe I'm greedy, I just wanted this story to go on far longer than it did.
I'd completely recommend picking this up; it takes around fifteen minutes to read, but will stay with you far longer.