Short Stories All the Time

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

19 August, 2014

Sigrid Nunez, "Imagination"

Elsie at age fourteen is having some adolescent pains. She acts out, mostly screaming inappropriately. Her well-to-do parents throw a party and Elsie almost goes for a swim, lightening and thunder interrupt and she's banished to her room. It is kind of a crying wolf sort of story with a tinge of magic realism at the very end.

The story presents an impetuous girl with burgeoning sexuality who finds adults hypocritical yet wants to protect her father, "she felt scalded...she had to do something." She makes a spectacle of herself in her bathing suit and later when she breaks her ankle and should scream for help, she's decided that she's not going to. We don't know if she's trying to change or if she'll then have ammunition to lay guilt on her parents because although hurt, they've told her that her screaming is perverse. Elsie "believed" she's wasn't alone and "easy prey" when "a twig snapped" and "she felt a scream of hurricane force start to gather inside her." Then the story moves to the POV of the fox.

FAVORITE LINES: "Except that Joel wasn't watching her father. He was looking down, as if taking care that his thoughts not be too readable."

The story was a most enjoyable read and was first published in The Sun and then in Pushcart Prize, 2014.

Sigrid Nunez's web page
Wikipedia page for Sigrid Nunez