"Bridge in the Rain" by Bianca Lakoseljac

I made this choice from my good friends at NetGalley, not realizing it was a series of short pieces. However, the collection contains well over its share of striking and memorable characters in the throes of epochal moments. Such is the stuff of fine short fiction.

Ms. Lakoseljac presents in the title piece a man who in the present day lets his jealousy of the relationship between his wife and Vincent van Gogh lead to cruel negligence and disastrous – life and death – consequences. “The Perfect Woman” follows the marriage-ruining self-absorption of a woman who learns through fantasy and brinksmanship that she may not measure up to the perfections of an inflatable doll. Is the doll real? The efficacy of this question leaves us in no doubt of the author’s haunting strength. “Years of Silence” chronicles the sad and, again, self-absorbed, saga of two friends who have been out of touch for years. The stirring and captivating use of the long letter from long ago ranks as one of the finest effects in this collection. In “Heads or Tails” Ms. Lakoseljac reduces the stay-married-or-not issue to the flip of a coin. Very nearly.

Just as certain themes and personality traits dominate the majority of these pieces, I think it no mistake that the author leads off and finishes with uplifting, hopeful stories, and even presents a foreword that establishes the recurring talisman: a park bench in Toronto. We read through a confusing, unsettling fairy tale after the foreword, and it reinforces the writer’s mission, although for me, it isn’t needed. It seems a true, if charming, piece of self-absorption for the author herself. However, “Night Walk” portrays a true-feeling change of heart in a young woman who opts to stay with a position she loves in a children’s library, rather than take the grand opportunity in an adults-only office in another city.

It’s been some years since I devoted any energy to short fiction. These pieces, though, have refreshed me in this area; they are consistently excellent. We witness the doubting, troubled internal dialogues of people at crossroads or crises. Seldom do characters behave in any sympathetic way, and if we’re lucky, we might get a hint of some trouble that led the character to do what he or she does. For those who enjoy short stories, these belong in the very first rank. Trust me.

I was a little befuddled as to how to rate these pieces. On the whole there is somewhat of a sameness to the characters, but individually, the stories shine. They're clear, direct pieces, and very enjoyable.
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  1. Dear Luke,

    Thank you for reading Bridge in the Rain and for your detailed and useful feedback. I am glad that you enjoyed the stories, and although you found some elements of the collection a bit befuddling, I am intrigued by your review which is concrete and analytical and instructive, as it helped me to glimpse into my own creative thinking as a subconscious mental process. I’ve always believed that creative and analytical thinking are complementary, and that an engaging storyline emerges mostly through random chances. As a writer, I have hoped that my perception mechanism would notice things others would miss, leading to surprises readers would find refreshing and alluring. Thank you for acknowledging nuances in my writing that I’ve so much hoped to achieve and will always work on cultivating.

    My upcoming novel, Summer of the Dancing Bear, is slated for publication this fall, also by Guernica Editions. I hope you’ll get the chance to read it. I would very much welcome your feedback.

    Best regards,

    Bianca Lakoseljac

  2. Bianca,

    Thanks for the kind words. When I accomplish what I want, I make a faint, admiring echo to the beauty of someone's art.

    You are completely welcome to any contribution I made or can make.