Summary: In 1950, a woman seeks confirmation of her devout Catholic values.
Lines that will stick with me: “She nags God for a private miracle – something cozy just between the two of them …”
My take: I did make it to the end; in fact, I read the ending twice, to make sure I’d read it correctly. (I had.) I didn’t find the main character very likeable to start, and still wasn’t exactly fond of her at the end – though I did have more sympathy for her. All that being said I have to admit that it was an honest-to-gosh story and, for me, one that in the end came this close to crossing the line between literary and speculative fiction – which, in the end, probably made me like it a bit more than I otherwise might have.
(Fair disclosure – Though I was fairly religious when I was much younger, I’m not now. Also, I was once married into a Catholic family, and I’m also not now.)
Summary: A woman works through grief after the death of her teenage son by entering into a spreadsheet the birth and death year of everyone she has known who is no longer alive.
Line that will stick with me: “Memory was a haystack. Search for any one story and you’d get a hundred stories, none of them complete.”
My take: I made it to the end – and wasn’t sorry. Though it has a “plot” line that intrinsically takes the story all over the place, the story was ultimately satisfying due to the engaging nature of the woman’s exploration of her acquaintance with death and grief, the changes in which are recognized by her – and is the point of the actual ending.
(Fair disclosure – my spouse works for a funeral home, which may make me more open to stories about how people deal with grief. That being said, the reasons I actually liked the story did not depend on this.)
I’ve been a voracious reader most of my life, a wannabe fiction writer since grade school. I’m unapologetically a fan of SFF and mystery/crime fiction – and have been known to categorize a certain sort of story – ultra-literary, barely distinguishable plot and/or character arc, endings that feel like the last paragraph was deleted — as “New Yorker fiction.”
And yet the New Yorker has come into my home every week for years. I try to read the fiction; sometimes it’s quite good, and others it’s, well, New Yorker fiction. I’ll be trying to read New Yorker fiction – all the way through to the potential non-end– and record my take on it here.
I haven’t posted anything in this blog for a year and 9 months, and have toyed with the idea of simply deleting it. But I’ve made my way through the depression evident in those post-election haiku, through the anger and into action — and sometimes back again. The situation, political and otherwise (but mostly political) has gotten both worse and more ridiculous, but lately I feel the need to write again. So I’ve decided to give the blog one more try.
Even if I’m the only one who knows it’s here.
#5, for 12/21/16
At Winter’s Solstice
Darkness gives way to the light.
This year, it lingers.
#6, for 12/28/16
Not yet New Year’s Day:
My resolutions were made
On Election Eve.
What we know is:
He did it.
We know how
(The rope, the ceiling)
Not why life’s center
Slipped beyond his grasp
Did he leave with it on his shoulders,
Or on the backs of others?
About last Wednesday
I had ideas —
Lots of them,
In flight and vicious:
Green bottle flies.
Flapping their wings
Snapping at each other.
Even at the end
As they sank into the darkness
Too exhausted to fly,
Their malice was not so spent
As to recommend a close encounter
I had ideas,
But no words for last Wednesday