Five Chapters is a unique literary website that publishes a new piece of original fiction each week, in five parts, one for each day of the week. They’ve published an impressive list of contemporary authors and artists such as: Nick Hornby, Chip Kidd, Rhett Miller (from the Old 97s), Aimee Bender, Nam Le, and many others. And despite it’s claustrophobic design, it promises to be an entertaining daily read. (Fortunately, each story comes with a “print story” link that provides a more reader-friendly page.)
This story, in particular, caught my eye: “Cardiology” by Ryan Boudinot. It’s a wonderfully inventive story about an entire town that shares the same heart. Ryan Boudinot is an exuberantly entertaining read, to say the least. Here’s what I mean:
“Years ago there was a town not far from here where nobody had their own heart. They shared one gigantic heart located in a former water purification plant near the center of town. When enlivened by physical activity, the heart beat more rapidly, sending its blood to the neighborhoods, rattling silverware on restaurant tables, shaking portraits off walls, tickling bare feet on cobblestones with its vibrations.”
The visual picture I have in my head of this town is something akin to one of Hayao Miyazaki’s (Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle) creations, a world full of magic and strangeness, but still very mundane and familiar.
In “Cardiology,” Boudinot plays with a variety of archetypical themes: urban versus rural, the individual versus the collective, one’s sense of home, people’s dependence on technology, and the restraints of tradition. It’s a highly thought-provoking piece.