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New Yorker Fiction Review #139: "A Resolute Man" by Anne Proulx

Issue: March 21, 2016

Story: "A Resolute Man" by Annie Proulx

Rating: $

Review: I can't recall ever having read anything by Annie Proulx and I can't say that I'm possessed of a particularly strong desire to do so after reading this story. Although it did pick up at the end, the dialogue was a little wooden and it took far too long to get to the good stuff, which I find is generally the problem with fiction (or at least my problem with most fiction) even the short stuff, which is about all I can deal with these days.

Maybe the problem is that it's part of her upcoming novel Barkskins and not a "story" in and of itself. Or maybe it is a story in and of itself, and it still is kind of boring for the first half. Anyway, only when the main character, James Duke, finally marries a sex-crazed local woman with a crass, backwoodsman father does the story really take off. And then, it actually is pretty interesting, as we watch the civilized former Navy Captain Duke realize he has made a terrible mistake and come to grips with it.

I foresee myself one day picking up Barkskins in the bookstore, reading a few lines of it, strongly debating buying it, and then not. Perhaps one day when it shows up for $2.00 in the Clearance section of Half Price Books will I buy it, and then finally not read it.


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

Rating: $

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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 …