“Fish”

Fish is by Tara Ison, Assistant Professor of Fiction in the creative writing program at Arizona State University.  She is the author of two novels, A Child out of Alcatraz and The List, and a forthcoming short story collection.

Fish follows a woman as she prepares for her uncle to pass away, both in the physical and spiritual sense.

Questions to think about when reading this story:

  1. Ison employs a couple of writing techniques to affect the reader’s impression of the story; a conflicting setup, long paragraphs, no punctuation on the dialog.  What emotional impact is Ison trying to convey?
  2. The main character bounces back and forth between the hospital and the Japanese gardens.  What do you think is the significance of the two locations and the characters in them (the orderly, the koi fish) to the main character?
  3. The main character and her uncle have a dark history together… perhaps.  Do they, really?  What evidence do you find one way or the other, and more importantly – how does the ambiguity propel the story?

Feel free to comment here, and I’ll see you at our next meeting.

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