The dark unsaid

Recently I tweeted about a short story that really shook me: the achingly slow unravelled suspense of it, the seductive and beautiful movement toward a horrific end. But an exquisite end: one that the reader knows is coming, knows what’s happening, and yet, it is never mentioned. The event is never spelled out but we all know what’s going on. And we feel complicit in it. There is a guiltiness to it. Because we enjoyed getting there.

When the author replied I told him that what I love most about his writing is the “dark unsaid.” Writing is at its most glorious when it tells a story with implication, when it alludes to events — or the potential of events — without ever naming them. Acts of violence hinted at. The possibility of evil teased. Unexpected deaths detailed without words. The gradually developing picture of something that has gone terribly wrong.

The dark unsaid. Provocative. Damaging.

Great writing leaves a mark — but not a visible one.

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