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Showing posts from July, 2013

New Yorker Fiction Reviews: "All Ahead of Them" by Tobias Wolff

Each week I review the short fiction from a recent issue of The New Yorker. It used to just be a weekend thing...you know: a review here, a review there. But now, I'm addicted....

Issue: July 8 & 15, 2013
Story: "All Ahead of Them"
Author: Tobias Wolff
Plot: A young man, Bud, sits alone in his hotel room on the French Riveria, where he has come on his honeymoon. He goes through various stages of mental anguish over a petty but worrisome scam his then wife-to-be, Arden, foisted on some of her close friends in the weeks before their wedding. The entire story takes place in Bud's head, as he thinks back to their history as a couple and the warning signs that might have suggested Arden had a rather large streak of larceny in her. Ultimately, he finds a shaky sort of peace with the whole incident. 
Review/Analysis: With the New Yorker's "Fiction Issue" hitting the shelves earlier this summer, and stories by Joyce Carol Oates and Thomas McGuane over the past c…

New Yorker Fiction Reviews: "Mastiff" by Joyce Carol Oates

Each week I review the short fiction from a recent issue of The New Yorker. If that doesn't earn me some Literary Hipster "street-cred" then I don't know what else I can do...

Issue: July 1, 2013
Story: "Mastiff"
Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Plot: A 41-year old California woman (called simply "the woman" in this story) goes on a day-hike into the mountains with the man whom she's seeing. On the hike she alternately rejoices that this man might be "the one" and laments the fact that he's not more attentive to her. She is full of contradictions: she wants to be pursued, but she also wants to have control of the relationship. She herself is withholding of affection, and then she pouts that the man is not more affectionate to her. At the end of the hike, the woman is attacked by a large Mastiff dog, but the man jumps in and saves her. The man is badly injured, and the trauma causes the woman to feel genuine emotion as she waits with him in …

New Yorker Fiction Reviews: Thomas McGuane's "Stars"

Each week I review the short fiction from a recent issue of The New Yorker. If you were looking for poop jokes and cheap laughs, please check my Twitter feed...

Issue: June 24th

Story: "Stars"

Author: Thomas McGuane

Plot: A young woman, Jessica, is studying astronomy at a university in Montana. As her daily interactions with people become more and more frustrating and angering, she takes to hiking as a way to escape. At all turns she finds people reacting to her in ways that reflect her abrasive and rigidly stoic attitude. She cannot seem to have fulfilling and warm relations with people; she does not even try. Ultimately, she finds solace in the loneliness of the woods. In other words...there is no plot.

Review: Thomas McGuane is part of the "Montana school" of writers that includes guys like Jim Harrison, Russel Chatham and others whose fiction and art deals mostly with the lost souls who inhabit the vast, harsh, lonely landscape of the American West. McGuane's st…