Short Stories All the Time

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

17 October, 2016

Charles D'Ambrosio, "Blessing"

In the winter 2005 issue of Zoetrope: All-Story, there is a story by Charles D'Ambrosio told in first-person POV, that of Tony, husband of Meagan. They've moved from New York City to a two and a half hour drive outside of Seattle. She'd been auditioning for acting roles but was always unsuccessful. Tony is an insurance representative or adjuster and he's content to sit in a comfortable chair and read a good book. They've bought an old house at the edge of a tulip farm. The house is old in parts and updated in parts. Meagan's brother, father, sister-in-law, and baby are coming for a visit. It's the brother's birthday. He's out of the Marines and married to a younger Filipino woman.

Ultimately, I think, the story is about hunger. Hunger for career accomplishment, hunger for acceptance, hunger for approval, and actual hunger.

"His entire body clenched like a fist with each cry; his small, astonishing baby hands flailed around blindly until he found my finger and latched on, sticking the tip in his mouth and suckling. Naga took the bottle from the pan and then filled it to the top with water from the tap.
'You can't dilute the formula,' I said. 'No water.'
'Lasts longer,' Naga said.
'That's why he's crying,' I said. 'He's hungry.'
'Very expensive, Anthony.'
'But you can't do that. Do you understand? He's starving."

Everyone in this story is starving, except Tony. His father died when he was two years old and has never felt the loss. He was surrounded by other family members and always included in one way or another. While Meagan and her brother, Jimmy, lost their mother to mental illness, continue to try to win approval from their father who says, "'Ambition that's compromised,' he said. 'isn't ambition.'"

"Blessing" was later, 2006, included in his short story collection, The Dead Fish Museum.

Link to an interview between Leslie Jamison and Charles D'Ambrosio for The New Yorker.
Link to Wikipedia page for D'Ambrosio