Wednesday December 4, 2013
If you're one of the people who spent early 2013 grabbing other people's lapels and stammering things like, "George Saunders! Have you read Tenth of December? Oh, my -- oh -- I just, I, wow," and then making a gesture with your hands to suggest that your head just exploded, then you'll appreciate how pleased I am that the arrival of December gives me yet another excuse to celebrate his work. The title story, "Tenth of December" is not quite so surreal and futuristic as others in the collection, but I find it tremendously moving in its simplicity. Have you read Saunders? Did your head explode? Do tell. Image courtesy of nic_r.
Tuesday November 26, 2013
Thanksgiving is only two days away, so I couldn't resist writing about Alice Munro's "The Turkey Season" this week, even though it's really more of a Christmas story (it's Canadian, after all), and even though its descriptions of turkey gutting are so graphic that they might make you lose your appetite for a Thanksgiving feast, anyway. It's a story that gets richer with every reading, partly (as usual with Munro) because of the complex descriptions of the characters -- particularly of Herb Abbott, a man whose ambiguous relation to stereotypical gender roles drives his co-workers to distraction. I'd love to hear what you think of it -- especially if you read it twice. Image courtesy of Martin Pettitt.
Wednesday November 20, 2013
While it's not exactly what you might expect from a Thanksgiving story, Flannery O'Connor's "The Turkey" is a terrific story about the importance of being grateful even when things don't go your way. Image courtesy of Rodney Campbell.
Wednesday November 13, 2013
This week marks the publication of Flannery O'Connor's prayer journal. It documents, among other things, the author's struggle to eschew the mechanical repetition of traditional prayers in favor of more thoughtful, deliberate language. It reminds me of O'Connor's story "Good Country People," which is populated by characters spouting -- or living -- cliches. Have you read any parts of her journal (excerpts have been appearing in places like the Atlantic and The New Yorker)? I'd love to hear what you think. Image courtesy of John Spade.