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Treasure that’s too well hidden

By G.S. Williams, author of No Man An Island

Sep 29, 2011: In brief, the "Hole in the Wall" is a story about two families. Oscar, his mother and father, and Treasure, her brother Jazz and her grandmother. Long ago Treasure’s gran lived in Oscar’s family’s house, and she hid a box of letters from her husband in a walled-up room before they were forced out for not having rent money.

Now, years later, Treasure is outside the house, drawing it for her sick grandmother, until Oscar becomes her friend. Eventually her brother breaks into the house to take back the letters, and Oscar’s mother takes pity on the boy’s story about poverty and sadness, and lets him take them home. She finds that the grandmother has died and so she takes everyone to the hospital and hands them over to social services.

Oscar pines for his friend, because while she got him in trouble and told scary ghost stories, she was creative and interesting.

The only problem is that the story itself is told in such an oblique, rough style that it stops being interesting because the transitions are so hard to follow. Good writing shows character through actions and dialogue, but in this story days and weeks are glossed over, events are summarized, and bare details are shown.

The difference between Oscar’s narration and his mother’s is very slight—and honestly a mother should write a lot better than her child. However, both are equally hard to follow and both are strong on telling details instead of showing them.

There seems to be more going on with Treasure and her family than meets the eye, but with such an opaque writing style I’m not really interested in seeing if the other narrators improve the story any.

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