For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

A Musical Note

Kevin Barry discussing his story, “Ox Mountain Death Song,” on Page-Turner:

At the level of the sentence, what interests me above all is its sound. I will happily subvert a sentence’s meaning for the sake of how it sounds, and then just go with whatever change results; I’ll let the sound dictate the story. I work it along like this, sentence by sentence, and try to give the story a melody or a tune. And yes, I very much wanted that mythic note—or maybe better to say an epic note. I was trying to write a compressed epic. I wanted a Big Story but told as economically as possible. It was kind of a test for me—how quickly can you tell something epic, mythic, of great proportions? Technically, this involved removing chunks of the narrative spine and presenting it in these fragments. It’s a story that’s also very influenced, I would say, by the fact that I spend a lot of my time now writing film scripts—it has jump-cuts, pans, fades, and so forth.