An Obscure Constellation

It’s a new year for reviews at Splice, and here I am kicking it off with a close look at 926 Years, an intriguing collaborative project by Kyle Coma-Thomson and Tristan Foster:

Comprising what could be called a flash fiction cycle, 926 Years is a slim collection of twenty-two interlinked stories, each written in an identical form: a single, unbroken paragraph no more than two pages long. The stories are all titled after their central character, though not necessarily using a proper name, and the titles are all appended with an indication of the character’s age: “Yujun … age 26”, “G.W.W. … age 54”, “Greyhound Slim … age 29”. The title of the book refers to the sum of the characters’ ages, and, by encouraging readers to view these formally indistinct sketches in the aggregate, it does something fascinating with the value of the events they depict. As each story crystallises around a single moment in one character’s life, it suggests that that moment holds some particular value. Why this moment and not another? Why not one of the countless alternatives implicit in the character’s history, or in the years they have yet to live?

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