Wells Tower’s “The Brown Coast”

I felt that throughout the story, there was an atmosphere of repulsion and disgust; many of the descriptions rely on negative sensory descriptions, like the fridge smelling ‘sour’ or Bob’s relationship being ‘curdled.’  The emphasis especially seems to be on scents, or words that evoke scent.  I felt that this potentially related to the fact that they were on the ocean, and evoked an organic sense, but a highly repulsive organic sense.  This sort of miasma hangs around, but the depression it conjures is mitigated by the humor of the characters themselves.  And yet, sometimes, this humor also seems to come from a depressing source.  Derrick is the funniest character.  He is crude, blunt, and somewhat vicious.  He has lots of great one-liners (“Pack its ass in salt and make it pay,” “I did a couple of things to his cat”).  And yet, I feel I didn’t really know what his purpose in the story was.

Because this story was in 3rd person, I felt like there was a lot left to Bob that wasn’t really explored.  However, I appreciated the limited 3rd person viewpoint—I felt like this narrowed the focus considerably so as a reader I wasn’t distracted by other various aspects of the other character’s lives that sometimes occurs with an omniscient narrator.

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