Authors have experimented with Twitter fiction before, and even fictional characters from a musical have taken to Twitter to do a little world building (and marketing). But Reif Larsen’s enigmatic matryoshka doll piece is the first I’ve seen in a while to make such effective use of the format.
Here are some examples from the blog A New Kind of Book:
here’s what Reif wrote on July 19th:
Package from Serbia just arrived. I did not request such a package. I wonder the % of unrequested packages that end up being life-changing.
That’s odd, I thought. A little quirky, a little spooky in our post-Unabomber world. Next, came…well, what came next is I went away. I didn’t check Twitter for a day or so, determined to keep my vacation free of digital bits. I cheated, alas, and what I saw from Reif was a report that:
Package is actually a series of packages nestled inside of each other, like a matryoshka doll. I’m on package #13. No sign of the center.
Hmm. Interesting. Now he had me thinking. Partly it was journalist-type questions: What’s he up to with all this? Should I ping him and say “Not to be all Mom-ish, but, careful, man, ok? His next post arrived the following day:
I am at box #54, with still no sign of the center. At least the boxes are getting smaller. #54 was the size of old woman’s fist.
And yet in this new, serialized Twitter tale, Reif wove for me, and others, another kind of story. One that didn’t immerse us as deeply as a novel. But it showcased the quirky, elegant writing that seems to be Reif’s style. And part of the charm here stems from the spaces that Reif inserted. The way he let his story linger and unfurl. He didn’t, it’s worth noting, try to take an already-told tale and sprinkle it out via Twitter. He composed, for this new medium, a new kind of story.