Tagging you from Review Tag 2.0!
Wow, you don't beat around the bush. There was something about the description of Colin and Dennis's dad that grabbed me emotionally in the description of the very first picture. You describe the family whole and complete, untouched by things that were yet to come. It was lovely and also really sad to see Mr. Creevey smiling and happy, his family whole. Even sadder to read about what he will become.
I can't get over how vivid and real all of your descriptions are in this first section with the trip to the beach. You have an amazing knack for picking just the right things to comment on, which I suppose is sort of the whole point of this story. An eye for the details that take ordinary things and make them seem unfamiliar. I was especially taken with the description of the rocks being like teeth. That was really clever.
When you described Colin's "project" to capture images of the people in their neighborhood, I thought that was brilliant characterization. It was a perfect description of the boy who followed Harry around with his camera, awe-struck but also observant.
I absolutely loved what you did with Doris. Are you, perchance, a photographer? In a few, relatively short paragraphs filled with nothing but descriptions, you managed to unravel the story of a life and lay it all out in two-dimensional detail. A sad story with an ending that's yet to be told. So much beautiful detail. And even the end of the section had a little kicker of character development for Doris, Dennis and Colin.
I am in awe of how you managed to take the experience of being petrified and turn it into something that added another layer to the amazing characterization of Colin that you've built in this. I haven't ever given any thought to what it's like to be petrified, nor have I read any fics that take up the topic. But for an avid student of everything going on around him, like Colin, it must have been torture. The damage it inflicted on him was obvious from the way you described it. Really, really well done!
You caught me off guard with the moment where the story progressed to Colin's death. But you captured the moment in a fashion that fit perfectly with the story. It seems that Colin isn't the only one who finds that the world occasionally comes into focus. Unrelated note: it wasn't until the next section that I realized that Colin and Dennis went into hiding at the aunt's house. I don't know whether that was the effect you were going for, but if it was, it was nicely done!
It's hard to pick out any one thing and call it the saddest part of what happens after the war. It was definitely sad to see Dennis close himself off from his family and friends. I'd like to think that some of his classmates checked up on his occasionally. The way his parents reacted was heart-breaking. It's so easy to imagine the two of them shutting off, feeling betrayed by this mysterious world that promised to make anything possible for their sons but took so much away from them in the end. Once again, I loved what you did with Doris. She doesn't talk, or try to console Dennis. She just understands.
The last image you leave us with is really lovely. A small dose of happiness to end a very gripping, touching story.
I'm still kind of in awe. This story is beautiful. Brilliantly constructed, written with amazing style and finesse and completely free of typos and grammar problems. I really, really need to read more of your work!
Author's Response: I'm just...utterly blown away by your review! Wow! I never expected such a lengthy detailed review - from the review tag thread of all places :P And SO MUCH wonderful praise. I'm going to do something silly like tear up a little here... :D
First of all, to answer your question - am I perchance a photographer? The answer is no! I know zilch about photography! Which explains why there are no 'dark room' scenes and all despite Colin being an amateur photographer - in fact he develops his photos in a shop bahaha! A reader pointed out to me that the opposite of a digital camera is a film camera...so I have no idea what I was thinking when I mentioned 'analogue camera' in my story! Gah! That was embarrassing! An edited version is now in the queue.
I'm glad you liked the characterisations! Colin is meant to be somewhat annoying and persistent with his requests for pictures - and sometimes the things he does are a little inappropriate, e.g. his little 'project' with Doris. Still, I tried to portray him as humanly as possible, and through Dennis' eyes. And Dennis is the little brother who sort of tags along, but is also more impatient and more embarrassed of his older brother's quirks - at the same time he has this sort of affection for Colin...not entirely sure if I got all these feelings across xD
I'm glad you enjoyed the parts with Doris in them! Doris just...came to me out of nowhere with her knitting and sherry-drinking habit; I wanted Colin to have some sort of interaction with a stranger - Dennis is initially indifferent toward Doris, though this changes.
And as for the moment where Colin's death is revealed; I wanted that to be sort of a turning point in the story, where the atmosphere changes a little without there being too great a shock to the reader - and I suppose it helps that almost everyone already knows that Colin is dead in canon.
And of course I just had to end the story on that note :D The ending came to me naturally. I can't let the whole thing just be a chunk of angst with no moments of hope shining through and all :)
Well, thank you so very much for your brilliant review! I'm so glad that you enjoyed it - it means so much! And I, too, have to swing by your author's page and read some of your stories, especially Marked, which I've already started. You've got quite an impressive body of work there!