Jennifer Pelland has a new story up at Apex Magazine: “Organ Nell”. This 2600 word story is an oral history which builds the picture of the circumstances of Nell Gabrielli. Nell grows tumors on the outside of her body, but unlike a regular tumor, Nell’s tumors are viable organs that can be used for transplant to others. The oral history of “Organ Nell” gives the sad acceptance of Nell about her situation and the benefits she is giving mankind, but it also gives the perspective on medical professionals on both sides of the ethical aisle of Nell’s not quite forced participation and also the perspectives of priests, transplant recipients, and a couple of people on the street.
Like so much of Pelland’s work, “Organ Nell” is a heartbreaking story. Because it is told in the oral history format, “Organ Nell” is a tougher story to get into than some other stories Jennifer Pelland has written. Other stories are a more traditional narrative format and the oral history provides less of a sense of character than a well written traditional narrative. The thing is, Pelland has made the concept of “Organ Nell” so interesting that readers will spend the first page or so wondering what exactly Nell’s issue is and what the controversy is, and by the time readers know what the deal is (which I revealed in the first paragraph), they’re hooked.
That’s what Jennifer Pelland does to readers.