‘Acknowledgements (For the story that you have just Finished Reading)’ by Simon Kinch

Another Simon, this one with a wonderfully Joycean surname. I was hooked immediately by the title and the ‘prosthetic’ technique of turning the acknowledgements into a narrative. It opens with conventional thanks to his parents for their financial support, although it transpires it was obtained by embezzlement, and ends in thanking the reader their support in purchasing the published story. In between lies a literary cock-and-bull/shaggy-dog story of disorientating complexity involving a literary agent who is probably a scammer, lost manuscripts, a visit to the agent’s office in which the narrator is confronted by stacks and cartons of manuscripts and another writer similarly in pursuit of the agent and/or his own manuscript, an ensuing altercation in which the narrator escapes with a box of manuscripts, and the revelation at the end that the said story – “the one you have just finished reading” was published under his name but written by some unknown other.

That hardly does it justice. I had hoped this story would be found in the online edition of Exacting Clam but sadly isn’t. I can only hope it might eventually be collected or anthologized for non-EC subscribers to read.

First published in Exacting Clam N°2, Autumn 2021