Crocodile Chamber By Gayendra Abeywardane 

Most books and short stories follow a set plot line with a clear conflict and resolution and I guess even though I could stretch it a bit and find most of the parts of a plot in the short story Crocodile Chamber by Gayendra Abeywardane there is just something severely lacking from this story.  I think the real place it broke down was somewhere in the falling action and resolution of the story that made me feel let down by the story and with many questions that were never answered.

Unfortunately it’s hard to address the problems with the story without giving away the story for the readers.  Rather than summarize the story I’ll skip ahead to the ending problems so the reader will still be left with an air of mystery to want to read the story.  The first part of the story got a little bogged down in the rising action part of the plot and I felt like I was reading a stream of consciousness that repeated a bit in learning about the past of the main character and how he came to be in the situation he was in.  My interest peaked as he started to meet the man who he has spent his entire life in fear of for this secret meeting the author kept us in suspense for.  And then the bombshell dropped; the main character is told the mystery about his biological father…and then the mystery never pans out as the fight ensues leading to death for several in the room.  Our main character then simply ignores this huge secret he’s supposed to have just been given information about and goes about his way.  I want to know what this information meant to him…was it even real?  If it wasn’t and the person who has been trying to get our main character to meet with him when he had ample opportunity to kill him at a younger age decide to try to kill him now?  The main character moved on from the secret the would be assassin of our main character wanted him to move on from so why did he now decide to try to kill him?  I just don’t feel satisfied in the way the conflict resolved because I don’t know why the conflict existed and it never really was resolved and after the huge lead up to the end it felt like someone just busted my balloon.

The main character of the story is intriguing and his story feels important and worth my attention.  I wasn’t sure I was going to like him at first but understanding his past gave him the layers I needed to see him as a character who caught my attention and made me want to follow his story.  The backstory of the character was excellent and intriguing.  It felt real and was so unfair the reader will instantly root for the main character and empathize with him.  The writing itself could benefit greatly from a good editing job and in making the stream of consciousness part of the book more succinct.  Overall I think I just feel neutral about this short story.  I think I would be interested in reading it so I wouldn’t give it a negative review but yet reading it made me feel like a part of it was missing and just let down after my investment of reading the lead up to the climax of the story.  Perhaps the author could expand this into a novella and lead us through the main character dealing with the information he has found out from the meeting with his enemy to a more fulfilling resolution.

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