Home > fiction, short stories > Randolph’s One Bedroom: Andrew Oberg

Randolph’s One Bedroom: Andrew Oberg

August 24, 2011

When winter stretches on for half the year and people are forced to spend entirely too much time indoors, strange things are bound to happen. Randolph’s city of Sornsville, and the local coffee shop he works at, are no exceptions. But through all the irate customers and cryogenically preserved mammals, the drinks that magically disappear just when their order has come up, and the simian clerks that know far too much for their own good, Randolph somehow manages to keep an even keel. Here are twenty linked stories, or twenty episodes if you will, about Randolph and the small, frozen, and thoroughly odd part of the world he inhabits.

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A good short story is more than a vignette: something or someone has to change in the course of it; its characters need to learn things, or change their minds, and move on in some way, otherwise the piece of writing—no matter how beautifully phrased it is—will be little more than a series of disjointed actions, observed by a disinterested reader.

Randolph’s One Bedroom is that disjointed thing. Each episode that I read was a reasonable account of a string of events, but that doesn’t make a story: there was no character development, and no sense of growth and no conclusions: just accounts of small snippets of time, with some slightly odd behaviour included for no real reason that I could see.

There was also too much exposition; far too much detail, much of which I found dull; and quite a few points where the writer contradicted himself, made illogical statements, or used a word which jarred and so stopped the flow of the text.

I like short story collections and I like writing which is quirky and slightly off-kilter: I’d hoped that this collection would deliver me some of that quirk. Instead, this is a lacklustre collection of pieces which are, I suspect, intended to intrigue and delight but which only served to bore me by the time I’d finished reading.

I hope the writer considers plot and pacing more carefully in his future work; and that he learns to edit his work far more stringently than he has edited this collection.

I read twenty-two out of its one hundred and forty-three pages and those twenty-two pages were heavy going. I hope that this author will do better as he becomes a more experienced writer.

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  1. August 25, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    A very nice author once told me that maybe I wasn’t cut out for short stories. He phrased it so kindly that it soothed the embarrassment and shame.

  2. Authorator
    September 6, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Writing short stories is more challenging. It requires an exquisite sense of balance. Unlike a novelist, you can’t get away with dull spots. Thanks for sharing this.

    Collaborate, Create, Publish

  3. Anonymous
    January 3, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    22 of 143 pages would seem a little brief to quaify as ‘a review.’

  4. Mark Porter
    January 3, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Sorry, I meant to leave details.

  5. Jane Smith
    January 5, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Mark, thanks for commenting again to let me know who you are.

    You might like to take a look at how, and why, I review books here.

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