Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from June, 2013

New Yorker Fiction Reviews: "We Didn't Like Him" by Akhil Sharma

Each week I review the short fiction from a recent issue of The New Yorker. There. I said it. I'm free...

Issue: June 3, 2013

Story: "We Didn't Like Him"

Author: Akhil Sharma

Plot: A young man in a small Indian city tells the story of his distant cousin, Manshu, with whom he grew up. A few years Manshu's junior, the narrator expresses a simmering contempt for Manshu from the time they are children together, through the time Manshu becomes a local temple-keeper thanks to the narrator's father's largess. Though a member of the brahmin (or upper) social, Manshu exhibits lower-class ways; he marries a woman beneath his caste, he uses his position as temple-keeper to scam people, he commits social faux pas in gaudy and embarrassing ways. However, he is tolerated by his family, and the narrator, because he is just that: family. The narrator does not like him, but nevertheless, he is always there to pick up Manshu's slack. Proving that he is, in fact, of better …

New Yorker Fiction Reviews: "Thirteen Wives" by Steven Millhauser

Each week I review the short fiction in a recent issue of The New Yorker. It hurts me more than it hurts you...

Issue: May 27, 2013

Story: "Thirteen Wives"

Author: Steven Millhauser

Plot: There is no plot, per se. This is not a story so much as an ode; a stylized tribute to and exploration of one man's relationship with his 13 different "wives." He gives a brief introduction, and then talks about each wife in 13 different numbered sections of the story.

Review: I'm an ardent supporter of all forms of experimentation in fiction. We're  irradiated by electronic media from all sides, all the time; therefore the plain old "words on the page" need any advantage they can get. Which is just to say: this listicle type story works for me.

The title of the story would lead one to believe this is simply a story about a polygamist. Millhauser quickly (and thankfully) dashes those expectations, opening by telling the reader that he lives in a house with 13 room…

True Story #0981

I saw David Lee Roth in the Photo section of Wal-Mart today. He was getting some prints enlarged.

I was like: "Bosdee-bosdee-bop. California girls. Hibbity bee-bop. White bell-bottoms."

He was like: "Grow up."

I was like: "Everybody knows CVS has better film processing. What are you, some kind of asshole?"

He was like: "My mom gave me a gift card for my birthday. F*ck off."

I was like: "All your big hits were cover songs."

He was like: "And what's your name?"

I was like: "Ouch, bro."