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Top Mark ( short ) by [Aitken, Graeme]
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Top Mark ( short ) Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • File Size: 88 KB
  • Print Length: 29 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: 20Ten Books (May 21, 2012)
  • Publication Date: May 21, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0085BEJZS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,211,289 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

5 star
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4 star
62%
3 star
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Top Customer Reviews

By WittAuthor on September 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've giving Top Mark five stars for how well written the story was. It made you feel, made you question, made your heart pound in what it knew was inevitable dread. The entire thing is told from the perspective of the inner workings/thoughts of the protagonist. I have to say this--I'm so sick of readers on book review sites giving low rating to novels/short stories because they were sad or the reader didn't like how the story ended, or because it made them hurt, or--god forbid--it's not your cliche romance novel like every other thing you've read recently. That's good writing folks! If a short can accomplish that much emotion (especially in something as short as this), you've got something special in your hands. This is not a happy, fun read. However, it is an excellent written story--in some ways a study of realization as a man comes to terms with the truth of his relationship and his own instability. Gonna take a bit to shrug off the melancholy this story brought forth. Maybe not a funny, easy feeling, but thank you for the gift of artful wordplay and story telling, Graeme Aitken.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This little gem of a tale surprised me again and again with its language, subtlety and wit.
It drove my emotions a little crazy as I rooted for one Mark then the other as the author cleverly drew me into his tale.
The story was familiar in some aspects and I found myself filling in the "friend" characters with acquaintances of mine, then discarding my match ups when another witty twist appeared.
I enjoyed the story very much and encourage others to read it. It's a short, sweet, perplexing joyride.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This review can be found at The Armchair Reader.

This was an intriguing short story. It contains all those elements that I refuse to read. Open relationship, cheating, bittersweet ending? Check, check, check! Honestly, I was shocked I liked this one and in a way, I still don't, but I think that's just my natural rejection of those plot elements. I can't deny, however, that once I started I had to figure out how it all happened.

This book holds a lot of punch for a short story. It starts off by introducing the couple, Mark and Mark. They differentiate the guys by giving nicknames. Marx, is the younger, initially less experienced Mark. While Top Mark is the older, experienced Mark. Over time, Marx gets frustrated with his lack of experience and explores on his own at the blessing of Top Mark. The story, however, is told from Top Mark's (just Mark for this review) POV. It tells of his reaction to the way their seven year relationship has progressed and ultimately declined. It tells of his realization that something isn't right, how he figures out some startling revelations of Marx and finally gets to the point where Mark has irreparably damaged the relationship to the point of no return.

This isn't a hearts and roses type of story. It's raw and powerful and captivating in a way that you're hoping it gets better but also dreading the moment you realize it won't. In a way, you sympathize with Mark because the man gets dumped by a cowardly douche bag. But then while you're reading, you realize that while Marx grew distant, it's very likely he did so because he didn't want a relationship with himself. That's exactly what happened, in my opinion. Marx changed in attitude and appearance and as he changed, Mark changed to match except Mark was no longer the sexy confident man.
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Top Mark, our narrator, calls his lover Marx, partly as a joke, partly to differentiate them, something that doesn't always work. The name conjured up a quote, which grew more and more ironic as the story progressed. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

The troubles between them unfold in small steps, each little detail piling on as Mark describes, with a certain naiveté, the recent goings on. Unsettling phone calls are almost the least of it, though providing a certain note of both humor and WTF.

Both Mark and Marx will provoke a lot of strong feelings. The ending will make you think and ache; there is no happily ever anything here, but it's beautifully drawn misery.
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