Saturday, October 11, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Seeking Boarder..., by Rahul Kanakia

This short story by Rahul Kanakia is another from Clarkesworld Magazine, and you can read it for free here. The full title of this short story is "Seeking boarder for rm w/ attached bathroom, must be willing to live with ghosts ($500 / Berkeley)," and that title tells you pretty much everything I can say about the plot without telling you the whole thing. The story is told in the form of several listings for a boarder, and the poster may or may not be a reliable narrator. That's for the reader to decide. :)

I love stories with unreliable narrators, where I spend half of my time reading it trying to figure out if I'm the narrator is telling the truth, lying, or just delusional. I always think about "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a short story I read in college that is, in my opinion, one of the best examples of an unreliable narrator.

"Seeking Boarder..." is extremely well-written. The voice of the narrator was consistent and believable, and the story had a strange, uneasy mood that stayed with me for a while after reading. The story is more a study of the narrator's character than it is a plot-driven tale.

I would recommend this short story to people who enjoy unreliable narrators, stories told in non-standard formats, character-driven stories, and modern supernatural tales. It's extremely short, only 3762 words long, so I would also recommend it to someone who wants to spend no more than ten minutes reading something thought-provoking.

Rating: 4 stars

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