Jennifer Egan’s “Black Box”

Last week @NYerFiction tweeted Jennifer Egan’s 8500 word thriller, “Black Box,” in nightly installments. Because the story was finished before publication, calling it serial fiction feels like a stretch. Calling it brilliant, however, does not.

Read it in full here.

A few notes from following along in real time:

– Have to reacquaint yourself with the story every few seconds. Pull yourself back in. Almost as if the whole thing is happening in a room next to you, but the food frying on the stove in front of you keeps interrupting your focus.

– Impatience for the next bit. Not in a cliff-hanger / suspense sort of way…more as an Internet ADD problem.

– Awesome to read them among the other tweets in your stream. Funniest examples below:

–       Often have to read the tweet before, once more with every new bit. It changes, or creates, the rhythm of the story. The pacing, A. AB. B. BC. C. CD. D. DE.

–       You need a distraction in between – each installment posted over the course of an hour.

–       Word repetition (intentional or not) isn’t as noticeable. Diaphonous bathrobe…wouldn’t have remembered that word choice had I not reread the entire piece a few times the day before.

–       No typos. Feels secret. Intimate. Also perhaps the nature of the story.

–       A plot revealing itself while the world chatters.

–       The “make every sentence count” rule is heightened to an extreme. Tweets that fell flat pissed me off.

–       Really, really appreciative of the craft. As you read, hard not to compare it to fiction, and also to other tweets…she kills it on both levels.

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