Short Stories All the Time

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... a few of my thoughts about 900, mostly contemporary, short stories.
Showing posts with label Boyle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Boyle. Show all posts

22 February, 2015

T. C. Boyle, "The Night of the Satellite"

First published in the New Yorker, this fifteen page short story is told by Paul, first-person, and he has angered Mallory, his longtime girlfriend. They are graduate students, "just marking time," in the Midwest, Iowa, without specifically saying so. Their relationship will probably never be the same, if it even continues. They disagreed about getting involved in a couple's dispute. The story illustrates pretty clearly a male versus female viewpoint, also seeing how a person behaves under pressure are when values are exposed. Mallory starts behaving passive aggressively. They are arguing and a piece of space junk falls from the sky and hits Paul on the shoulder. Mallory throws it away and this probably seals the deal that the relationship either won't last or will never have true trust. They may be able to agree to disagree on their differing viewpoints.

I think the themes are viewpoints, odds, not just of the space junk landing by Paul, but also driving upon the crying girl and her boyfriend on the road. The odds of such an encounter that reveals Paul's character to Mallory are great. Another theme, predator versus prey, dogs and sheep, crying girl and abusive boyfriend, and Mallory's seeing Paul as predator's friendly enabler. When Paul rescued the sheep from the dogs, Mallory was not around to see. Another case of odds, "they could go careening around the world on any orbit they wanted, just so long as it never intersected mine again." And just the simple fact of life that "you can never tell what's going to come down next."

I like how the narrator compares the size of the piece of the climate satellite as the size of a sock and then later brings up Ed White's glove, hands and feet.

"The Night of the Satellite" is included in the 2014 edition of the Best American Short Stories.

Boyle's web page
Wikipedia page about T. C. Boyle

11 July, 2010

T.C. Boyle, "The Overcoat II"

"The Overcoat II" by T.C. Boyle is a version of the Nikolai Gogol story, "The Overcoat" or "The Cloak." Boyle's story, first published 1981, is included in T.C. Boyle Stories. It follows the original except that Boyle sets "The Overcoat II" in twentieth century Soviet Union instead of Gogol's nineteenth-century Imperial Russia. Both versions are written in a close 3rd person POV. The Gogol story has more of a ghostly haunting ending than the Boyle.

Here is a link to the Internet Archive for an audio recording of the Gogol story.

19 September, 2009

T.C. Boyle, "Faithless"

Finished some details on my video piece, Traveling. I made a cardboard "tv" screen with antennae. The two unrelated narratives, visual of a train and audio of a sports announcer, have me thinking about my short stories. I'm trying to grasp what it is about the videos that I find so intriguing and how they relate to my writing.

Read the novel excerpt, "Faithless" by T.C. Boyle published in the hard-copy, winter 2009 issue of Narrative. It is from his novel about Frank Lloyd Wright's women.