Short Stories All the Time

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

03 July, 2010

Philipp Meyer, "What You Do Out Here, When You're Alone"

This story by Philip Meyer is also included in The New Yorker's 20 Under 40 summer fiction issue. "What You Do Out Here, When You're Alone," is written in 3rd person POV, very close. Max Callahan, expert car repairman and wife, Lilli, have a son who has evidently been involved in a capital A accident. It is suspenseful in that I wanted to know what had happened to Harley, their thirteen year old and supposed coke user. While waiting to find out what happened to Harley we learn that all had not been right with Max and Lilli's marriage even before the accident. Husband, Max, questioned his decisions and wanted to alter the direction of his life. The story illustrates the issues with uprooting teenagers from their environments and the negative opportunities always available to young people. More than that though, it is about questioning the direction or lack of direction one has taken with one's life. It's a pretty good story but sometimes contains some phrases that could be better written; for example, "...sense of such overwhelming despair that he wanted to obliterate himself from the earth." And, "Max felt such disdain then that he could barely stand to look at her." In the end, Harley appears to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time much as his father when he decided to marry Lilli. Going along with whatever life throws at you rather than taking it by the horns, so to speak, is ultimately something to think about with this story.

I am happy that this story is actually a short story, in my mind. This fiction issue of The New Yorker seems to be mostly novel excerpts and memoirs and/or short pieces of fiction that do not "feel" like short stories.