STR: The Grappler by Daniel Soule

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The Grappler – Daniel Soule

This story first appeared in The Incubator Journal. Check out more of Dan’s writing at


“Maybe you are into wrestling, or may be you are not. But this story is for you. And surely that’s the secret of good writing – be it in its short or novel-length form – to draw you into subject matter you might not otherwise be compelled to read.

This is the tale of a wrestling match, not at first everybody’s cup of tea, however the detail in this case is handled with impressive aplomb. This level of description is not usually allowed breathing space within a short story. Lines like; ‘He usually circled to the left, his right, to the outside of my left jab, where unless I have some tricky spinning techniques, which I don’t, he’d avoid my big right hand and power-double.’ feel reassuringly authentic. Often writers put too much emphasis on the ‘story’ not on the mood and that can make for rushed prose. The Grappler is more about the moment in the style of short story masters of understatement like Carver or Chekov. And it’s much better for it.

Yes, there is a craving to understand more of the relationship between our narrator and ‘Pops’ – we suspect it is a dynamic responsible for many of the motivations in the story – and yes there’s a typo in the first line (should be to not too) but these are small gripes amongst a surprisingly engaging tale – and that’s from someone who doesn’t understand the first thing about wrestling!”


The SHORT TALE Review 2016

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