Short Stories All the Time

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

05 February, 2012

Allegra Goodman, "La Vita Nuova"

La Vita Nuova means new life and that is exactly what Amanda finally does after she creates self-portraits at various stages of her life as well as others around her after her fiancé breaks off their engagement just before the marriage is to take place. Amanda decides that she needs to move home and she leaves Nathaniel--the six/seven year old she's been babysitting--heartbroken.

The story has a perfect, in my opinion, circular structure with the ending reflecting the beginning, albeit it occurs in reverse. Amanda was left at the beginning and she does the leaving at the end. The motif of Russian stacking dolls works perfectly explaining not only her mental state but also her realization of her mental state when she paints the portraits on the dolls. The taking of her wedding dress to the first grade classroom for the children to paint on is a great visual as well as a great way to show Amanda's state of mind.

I detected one shift in point of view but mostly it was a fairly close third-person POV and the story was only nine pages long. Originally published in the New Yorker and subsequently selected for the Best American Short Stories, 2011.

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