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New Yorker Fiction Review #149: "Fable" by Charles Yu

From the May 30, 2016 Issue...

Listening to this story (I lost my May 30th issue; imagine that) today, I felt 100% sure I had read something by Charles Yu before. The dark, highly "meta" story of a guy whose shrink asks him to make up a fable which helps him to understand his own life better, just sounded all too familiar. But I guess I was wrong. Or else, perhaps, Yu sort of accomplished his goal in "Fable" which might have been to tell timeless story in a new way.

In any event, it was a pretty damn decent story. You get a pretty different experience listening to a story vs. reading one. And, though listening is easier and, if we're being seriously academic here, the original and perhaps true way that stories were communicated, I find the stories don't lend themselves to examination in the same way.

At times I felt a bit tired by all the stops and starts between the multiple layers of story here, but I do appreciate the way the main character was able to ultimately understand his own life by coming up with a fable about it. I think it really gets to the way we understand our lives through story, and the way we tend to think of our lives as stories unto themselves; an ancient human habit that's as old as language and probably will never die.

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