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Showing posts from November, 2015

New Yorker Fiction Review #113: "In The Act of Falling" by Danielle McLaughlin

Issue: Sept. 7, 2015

Story: "In The Act of Falling" by Danielle McLaughlin

Rating: $$

Review: Three things are certain in life: death, taxes, and me being woefully behind on my New Yorker short story reviewing. Hopefully I'll remedy that situation over the holiday weekend here when I'm sure I'll have nothing better to do than lay on the couch reading and analyzing short stories (!).

Anyhoo...there's something I like about this story but I don't really know what. The story is set in a sort of post-apocalyptic, or at least post-crisis world in which country mansions (like the one in which the family in this story lives) are super cheap, even if dilapidated, and semi-threatening vagrants appear from the woods and the once-tight net of civilization has started to fray in some of the typical ways in which you might expect if (and when) our society starts to crumble.

What McLaughlin does really nicely is create an eerie sense of disorientation that sort of mirrors…

Manchester United Reportedly Interested in Magpies' Ayoze Perez

In news that matters to only a few thousand people on this earth (and probably zero readers of this blog (if there are any left)) is that Manchester United is reportedly interested in Newcastle United striker Ayoze Perez for a January transfer. One thing majorly bothers me about this. One thing might be good.

What bothers me:
Ayoze Perez is one of the few NUFC players who occasionally scores a goal...and this is a squad desperately in need of goals. We'll still have Mitrovic and Wjinaldum, but those alone aren't going to be enough to keep us afloat. What might be good: If this is for real, deep-pocketed ManU might be willing to pay some serious sterling for him, giving NUFC the money to purchase a seasoned striker (like Charlie Austin??) that can lead the team up front and get us firmly out of the relegation zone.What's probably going to happen: Mike Ashley's probably going to sell Perez and buy two mediocre players with the money, causing more confusion and ineffectual p…

New Yorker Fiction Review #112: "The Apartment" by Jensen Beach

Issue: Aug. 31, 2015

Story: "The Apartment" by Jensen Beach

Rating: $$

Review: Turns out Jensen Beach is not just a place in Florida. Haw! Sorry for the Dad Humor. I'm so overwhelmingly far behind on my New Yorker reviewing that I'm forced to make crappy jokes to substitute for what would usually be well though-out reviews. I digress...

"The Apartment"...what's it about?? It's about a middle-aged woman in Stockholm, Sweden, who has resigned herself to her loveless marriage, her ordinary but loving son, her mundane life without romance or excitement, and who has relied for too long on drink as her source of comfort and solace. When a new tenant moves in across the courtyard, she is obsessed by the idea that it might be the daughter of a former lover of hers.

Louise is unhappy; that much is clear. At noon on a weekday she's already thinking about how much wine she's going to buy. By 3:00 p.m. she's buzzed. By dusk she's doing things she w…

New Yorker Fiction Review #111: "These Short, Dark Days" by Alice McDermott

Issue: Aug. 24, 2015

Story: "These Short, Dark Days" by Alice McDermott

Rating: $

Review: In this very depressingly-named short story, Alice McDermott takes a look into the psychology of a middle-aged nun who chooses to exert her own will in a quiet attempt to thwart the workings of male-dominated church dogma. She does this by attempting to have the body of a young male suicide placed in the Catholic cemetery, by obfuscating the cause of his death.

Honestly, this story is kinda boring. For one thing, the prose is very "procedural," (this happened, then this happened, then this happened) and the action not interesting enough in-and-of-itself for that to be exciting. The most interesting part was in the very beginning when at least we get a bit of the psychology of the character in question, and we can sense the doom that's about to befall him. Doom, after all, is eternally interesting.

One thing that I did think was cool about this story, however, was its "tim…