|Review:||teh tarik says:|
Hello there :) Returning your very lovely review for our swap!
I'm so happy to be finally reading some of your stories! I haven't been on HPFF for too long, but your work is very well-known, and I've been eyeing Out of Time for quite some time, now. Despite that, I have absolutely no idea why I chose to read this oneshot of yours, especially since I don't have much interest in James/Lily (or most popular pairings :p).
But thank all the gods of fanfiction that I clicked the link. Because this is an amazing story. It's an amazing portrayal of the (nonexistent) relationship between two people, the tension and the conflict and the resentment and most mysterious of all, the attraction. Your characterisation of both James and Lily was so incredibly original. I get the sense that Lily sees James as a brilliant but sheltered person, infuriatingly smart, seemingly invulnerable - and utterly protected by his own apparent inability to think, to see beyond himself. At least that's what Lily thinks. Which makes the final segment of the story so poignant and heartbreaking, when all that invulnerability of his is peeled away, and his usually quick mind is dulled by all that alcohol - and there's just James, a surprisingly fragile and human James.
I really admire how you've written the shift in the character dynamics, especially in this line: He remained silent, all his effort going into the action of placing one foot in front of the other... It really shows how James, for whom everything is slick and easy and quick becomes the one who needs to be helped, and Lily, for whom everything feels laboured, has the upper hand here. Gah, sorry...I'm repeating myself. But your characterisation of Lily is just so wonderful. So much detail! So much conflict of being torn by existing on the boundary of two different worlds. Her attraction to James, which she hates(ish) is just written so beautifully - and yet it unsettles her - all the things she notices about him: the shape and movement of his hands, the twinkle in his eye. Lily is so guarded in this story! And the ending just took my breath away. I thought that was a fantastic way to end the story - I was so sure that the two were going to have a happy ending and confess feelings and get together - but no. And I'm so glad this turned out completely different from what I expected! It was heartbreaking, those last few sentences - how sparse they were, and yet how much they said.
Another thing I really admire about your story is the use of dialogue. Your dialogue is just so...pure. Every line uttered by the characters is sharp and so full of meaning and emotional impact, there's hardly a word out of place. I've come across so many fanfics where dialogue just drags on even when characters don't seem to be saying much.
You think everything I do is stupid.
Perfect. Love love love how spartan the dialogue is, and how there's just so many unspoken things between the two. Sadly.
Brilliant title, by the way. Lily really does attempt to examine and dissect the way James thinks, only to find out that he doesn't. She can't read him very well, as is revealed in the final bit.
Oh, I could go on and on forever about this story. But I'm just going to favourite this. Never thought I'd favourite a Jily fanfic! But this is just so superbly written, and original, and beautiful and human.
Lovely writing! Thanks for sharing this story L) And thanks so much for agreeing to do the swap with me!
Author's Response: Wow, teh, this is an incredible review! Thank you very much for taking the time to write something so long and detailed! I appreciate it. :D
This story isn't about James/Lily so much as it is about both characters separately, and even then, I'm not so sure. I'm very bad at writing ships, even though my reputation says otherwise, because I prefer to place emphasis on the individual characters and the style of the story rather than on the "ship". In this story, it's like what you said: an nonexistent relationship between two individuals who are, for some unknown reason, attracted to one another. And Lily, try as she might to deny it, simply can't avoid that attraction.
You've perfectly described how the story works and, most importantly, how Lily's characterization works. She's always been a challenge for me, and it's a wonderful relief to hear that you enjoyed how both her and James were portrayed. I loved playing with the idea that Lily's perspective is skewed - she does not see the "real" James, just as I think most people in the world see each other incorrectly. It's very difficult to ever discover what a person is actually like behind their social facades, and it takes until the last scene of this story for Lily to see what James is without his mask. Most people will never have that opportunity - for Lily, it's enough that she has to re-evaluate her perspective on James, and probably on other things as well.
Wow! You've found a lot more in Lily's characterization than I intended to include. It makes the story sound a lot better than I expected it could! It's a fantastic thing to see, and I'm very glad that you've pointed it out. :D I never realized that the final scene reverses their positions, that she is finally the one offering assistance, while James struggles. Perhaps it's always been that way, if only Lily had seen it. And that ending! I'm so glad that you liked it. That style of ending has fascinated me for a long time, and I enjoy being able to try it out. This is probably the most effective use for it I've found so far because, like you said, it's sparse, but there's a lot of meaning to their words and actions, more than narration could properly express.
You know, that compliment on my dialogue is a very significant one to see. It was my weakness for a long while, and to hear that it's a strength of this one-shot is a wonderful compliment. ^_^
Thank you so much for reading and reviewing this story! I'd love to be able to say more in response to your review, but I'm too floored by it (even after all this time!). There aren't enough words to properly say thank you for this. It's a confidence-booster, and far, far more.