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New Yorker Fiction Review #130: "1 = 1" by Anne Carson

Issue: Jan. 11, 2016

Story: "1 = 1" by Anne Carson

Rating: $/Meh

Review: Much more of a poetic "meditation" than a story, I found "1 = 1" somewhat difficult to get through (even though it's only two New Yorker pages) and I did not appreciate it's rambling, stream-of-consciousness nature. Furthermore, and especially with a story I didn't really like, I rarely have the patience or time to go back over a story a second time in order to "get it." Though I take my fiction reviewing seriously, we're talking about short stories in a weekly magazine here, not the Torah.

Rarely have I felt so disengaged from what an author was "trying to do" than when reading this story. And I actually did attempt to read it twice through, neither time successfully. I imagine there are people out there who read and enjoyed this story, even loved it. And I'd love to hear from them, but I'm probably not going to, some kind of an explanation of why this story works or makes sense. I suspect it is, like some poetry, an attempt to capture the workings of the mind at the place where the conscious and the unconscious meet. If so...great.

One sort of highlight was Anne Carson's meditation on swimming and water:

"Water is different from air as from stones, and you must find your way through its structures, its ancientness, the history of an entity without response to you and yet complicit in your obstinate intrusion. You have no personality there, and water is uninterested in itself, stones do not care if you tell their story nicely."

I find these are the kinds of observations that stick with me for a long time and are part of the reason I like to read fiction. I suppose reading this story was worth my time for this rumination alone, but just barely.


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New Yorker Fiction Review #146: "Three Short Moments in a Long Life" by John L'Heureux

Issue: May 9, 2016

Story: "Three Short Moments in a Long Life" by John L'Heureux

Rating: $

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New Yorker Fiction Review #151: "The Bog Girl" by Karen Russell

From the June 20 issue...

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Water Review: San Pellegrino 250ml Bottle

Damn you, tiny little bottle of San Pellegrino. So little. So cute. But what are you really good for other than to make me wish I had a full bottle of Pellegrino? 
Good as a palate cleanser after a nice double espresso, I will give it that. But little else. The suave yet chaotic burst of Pellegrino bubbliness is still there, but with each sip you feel the tragedy of being that much closer to the end of the bottle, that much faster.

This is a bottle of water made specifically for the frustrated, for the meticulous, for the measurers among us with a penchant for the dainty. This water does not love you in the wild, on a sunny porch or with the raucous laughter of friends. No...much the opposite. Whatever that may be.

Best drunk in tiny, tiny sips, while forcing oneself through an unreadable and depressing Russian novel one does not want to read but feels one should, on a cold, wet day in December that promises four months of gloom and depression...or in pairs or threes and poured over …