Story Name: Martin Mandel's Parabola
Author: Ashley Symes
Assessor: Ginny Swart
Date: 2 June 2009
This was a wonderful story on every level and a worthy winner of the competition. It is a perceptive study of an elderly man and his thoughts on his mortality and that of his friend.
The entire story takes place in the period of his gym workout. There is no intriguing plot or in fact any high point but his thoughts and observations make compulsive reading. The writer has given us a glimpse of his background, his children and his career as a doctor and along the way we have learnt his views on life, as well as a lot about him as a person.
The style of writing is assured, and the writer presumes his reader to be as intelligent as she is. The language used perfectly reflected the character of Martin Mandel, with a deliberate, unhurried style. This reminded me of writings from some turn-of the-century essayist.
There are really no criticisms I can make about this story. It's just a very, very good piece of work and I have to ask, how come Ashley Symes hasn't published her stories before? Maybe this will be a spur to submit pieces like this to anthologies or literary magazines overseas.