A friend of mine has recently been published over at 'Writers' Billboard'. Julian Holt is and/or was (depending on how far in the future you're reading this. This is 2013 at the moment. Welcome...) the June joint short fiction winner with his piece 'Writer in Residence'. Now, the link is only good for a period of a month or two, apparently, so if it doesn't work you weren't quick enough!
'Writer in Residence' is essentially a meta-narrative, where the question of narrative reliability is surpassed by narrator's culpability. The 'meta-ness' of a story 'like this' is always intriguing to me. Writing above narrative is fun, but it takes an amount of skill to pull it off. A big bank of meta-narrative cliches have built up over time, and even the idea itself can become stale. To overcome these varied stagnant swamps of writing delusion is a tough thing, but I feel Holt has hopped, skipped and jumped over the pitfalls and into all the exciting things a narrative of this type presents to us. The narrator is a self-confessed writer (i.e. professional liar (no, not a politician)) which gives us an immediacy to the truth (or does it?). You're drawn to the process of narrative, as well as multiple character facets and there's no way of judging if it's true or not beyond speculation.
But aside from my ramblings about so-called 'meta-ness', the essential tenets of storydom are very competently mastered. The dual 'tracks' (i.e. the writer writing about the Brusque-Mantels/Derailleurs and then the 'real-life' Kemps/Raleighs) converge pleasantly at the end. And yeah, it makes you think. I felt I had to read it over to get a sense of its full worth and I got more out of it the second time.
And for my end I shall talk about Holt's beginning. My love for language meant I was completely trapped in the honey-sweet stickiness of linguistic longing in the first paragraph. I was hooked, I was 'gotten' - I had to read on. What a journey. Go read it, or else you may have dealings with the very same 'writer in residence'...