Short Stories All the Time

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

10 September, 2011

Abby Frucht, "Midnight"

"Midnight" is a first-person POV story about a college student who is the third wife of the professor with whom she had an affair. What I like about this story is the way food is used to contrast the narrator's childhood versus her married life with her lying cheapskate of a husband. Her mother and father nourished her with great food as well as purchased it in quantity during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In contrast, her husband, Charlie, is almost obsessed with using coupons and keeps almost nothing in the refrigerator. He's also adamant about using little or no gas for driving.

They have an inside joke about midnight and the narrator's broken watch. Indeed, her life is in a holding pattern married to this guy and teeters between lies and a forced frugality and with the ending, I feel like she's oblivious and in denial about his philandering.

The story made a circle with the narrator behaving as if she's an infant suckling on Charlie's fingers while "He lets all of his weight go..." He is definitely a weight, a drag, on her life although she never seems to admit it. When he tells her he has to go to dinner at a female student's home, the narrator seems more curious and concerned about the mental stability of the young woman who he says will kill herself if he doesn't show up.

The story is only 13 pages long but begins with the narrator in elementary school in 1962 and follows her all the way after college and marriage. Time is handled seamlessly and flows easily even with that much time spanned.

This is the first short story collection, Fruit of the Month, by Frucht and was the winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award, 1987.

So far I've only read the first story of the collection but I'm anxious to read the rest and am curious if the rest of the stories hold up to the opening one which I think is pretty great. I purchased my copy at Recycled Books but was surprised to find it available online. I much prefer to read the paper copy.

Frucht's web page
Narrative Magazine, stories by Frucht
AGNI Online
short article, Cornell College newspaper
University of Iowa Institutional Repository, click on download button (it appears that the entire book is available)