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New Yorker Fiction Review #148: "The Midnight Zone" by Lauren Groff

Lauren Groff seems to be obsessed by the thoughts and demons that can assault the brain of an adult, particularly a parent/mother at night. At least, that's what I gather from my sample size of two New Yorker stories (see TGCB's review of "Ghosts and Empties") in which Groff's characters go through mental gauntlets at night, much as we all do on the occasional sleepless night.

Groff got a little closer to the bone in "Ghosts and Empties," however, than here.With "The Midnight Zone" we weren't in her drowsy, head-trauma disoriented head for long enough to feel what she was feeling. In fact, I think the whole story is a bit of a tease in the sense that she brings up the tantalizing possibility of a Florida Panther stalking around the cabin in the night, and then never has the character confront the panther, or the other way around. That's as bad as having a gun on the mantle during a stage play and never having anyone use it.

There are memorable NYer stories and forgettable ones. I think this is one of the latter. But Groff is not to be written off.

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