Short Stories All the Time

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

10 August, 2017

Lily Tuck, "Alexa"

Lily Tuck's short story, "Alexa," in the summer 2017 issue of Zoetrope: All-Story shows a man in the 21st century and how an electronic personal assistant becomes intertwined with his longings and fantasies. The story is concisely constructed and complex in its brevity. The narrator makes up stories about strangers and in the end asks Alexa, "Tell me who I slept with." Did he sleep with Linda, his ex-wife, or the svelte blond woman from the hotel restaurant that he imagined sleeping with? The question also arises about whether or not the narrator has resigned himself to the life he has or does he escape it through his fantasies? And he wants Alexa to inform him. The story is also about intimacy and privacy. The more thought given to the story, the more questions that arise.

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

18 February, 2016

Maile Meloy, "Travis, B"

Touching story of two working-class people brought together, almost, in an unexpected manner. This third-person limited point of view story takes place in Montana in January. Chet Moran had polio as a child and has been on survival mode developing somewhat of a philosophical and analytical mindset. He understands animals and broke horses when he was fourteen. She, Beth, never knew her father and somehow managed to make it through law school but ends up with a job where she does "all the crap no one else wants to do." The author does an exceptional job of straddling the fence where a person who is working hard to better her situation still has empathy and kindness towards someone who maybe isn't going to make it to her social position. We also see how Beth might not even make it to that so-called higher social standing.

"Travis, B" is in the current issue of Zoetrope: All-Story as the classic reprint as it is one of three stories that the filmmaker, Kelly Reichardt, has made into a film, Certain Women which will premiere in 2016, this year, at the Sundance Film Festival. The short story was first published in The New Yorker and then included in Meloy's collection, Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It.

18 January, 2016

Elizabeth McCracken, "Birdsong from the Radio"

The story is divided into two sections. The first is an omniscient or almost omniscient viewpoint and then after the husband leaves and children are killed the last section is in the viewpoint of the mother, Leonora. The story takes the idea that children are so yummy a person wants to take a bite out of them coupled with the threat that if a child doesn't behave a monster will eat them up. It reminds me when a little boy said about our dog, "I just wish I could lick him." But Leonora is seriously disturbed and has a family history of asylums and suicide. The children, Rosa, Marco, and Dolly fear for their lives and eventually sleep together choosing different beds each night in an attempt to thwart their mother. Her bites began as playful nibbles and have escalated to a voraciousness. Finally, the children and father
leave. The father arranges for Leonora to receive disability. "She should have eaten them when she could." Later, she sees her baby children in loaves of bread at the bakery and has taken on even more animal characteristics, she sits in the bakery each day and devours a loaf of bread. The story is strange and wonderful and sounds--the sentences are rhythmical--like a fairy tale used to encourage children to behave or they'll been eaten alive. My favorite line is in a description about how Leonora has grown "bearlike." "Her kidneys, dozing moles; her lungs, folded bats. The organs that had authored her children: jellyfish, jellyfish, eel, eel, manatee." Poetic for ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus. Wow, that is one wonderful sentence and metaphor!

"Birdsong from the Radio" was first published in Zoetrope: All-Story and then selected for the O'Henry Prize Stories, 2015.

01 December, 2015

George Singleton, "Seldom Around Here"

Walter Inabinet, changed his name to Seldom, quit his job selling pharmaceuticals and became a fake folk or faux primitive artist. He goes to his art shack in which he spins out his paintings and what-nots that the gallery owner, Margaret Flythe, buys and then marks up to thousands of dollars and sells to the yuppies. One day a woman with a sick baby shows up and wants him to "breathe" on the baby and cure it of its bad case of thrush.

Seldom's wife, Emmie, is none too pleased with her husband's career move. She ends up having sex with the highway trooper, Loris Treen, while they are looking for the woman on the run who has just abandoned her sick baby. In the meantime, Seldom has sex in the art shack with the gallery owner. It's a funny story and the people are just screwed up enough that they are totally believable.

I like the theme of fakery and posing and how things can sound like they are different just because they have prestigious names, pharmaceutical salesman or snake-oil-fake-religious-artist-healer-guy.

"Seldom Around Here" was published in Zoetrope: All-Story in 2001. You can read the story here at this link. This afternoon I found Singleton reading a story online but my wonderful discovery was that a poet, Janice N. Harrington, was also reading. She teaches at the University of Illinois. I love her poetry and the way she reads it.

23 November, 2015

Andrew Malan Milward, "The Burning of Lawrence"

The story is about Quantrill's raid on Lawrence, Kansas in 1863. It's told in sixteen sections, first person point of view. A contemporary female who has enrolled in the university in Lawrence first encounters a photograph of some of Quantrill's men who had gotten together for a reunion in 1912. It's fiction mixed with historical fiction. We see the young woman learning about Lawrence while she is also in the midst of relationships at college. She is telling the story sometime later, after 2003.

"The Burning of Lawrence" was first published in Zoetrope: All-Story in 2007 and is now the first story in Milward's collection, I Was a Revolutionary.

24 May, 2015

Naomi J. Williams, "Permission"

This first-person POV story takes place in early 19th century France. Jacquette's brother, Jean-Francis, died as a great naval navigator. She petitions the king that her family be allowed to append his name, Lapérouse, to their names. Naturally, the men are allowed and Jacquette and her sister are
not even listed on the decree. The story is ultimately about aging and identity and women's rights. Jacquette is 74 years old and asks at the beginning of the story, "Isn't it enough to bear the twin indignities of womanhood and old age without also having to fix the mistakes of men?" The big mistake is that the clerk incorrectly spelled the name, three times and in three different ways, and Antoine, Jacquette's husband doesn't even notice and then doesn't think that it matters.

When I first read the story some cliche phrases made me want to throw the journal on the ground but I gave it another chance and it's actually quite a fine story. I think the phrases that were bothering me were an attempt by the author to create a 19th century voice. And, it does make me want to pull the story "Snow Men" published by One Story, issue 131, off of my shelf and read it. Without ever purchasing another book, I have enough short story journals, anthologies and collections to last the rest of my life. I cannot read as fast as I purchase.

"Permission" was published in Zoetrope: All-Story, issue spring 2015.

link to Naomi J. Williams's web page

01 February, 2015

Raymond Carver, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love"

“What we Talk About When We Talk About Love” brings up a theme that James Joyce’s “The Dead” illustrates. That is, how someone dead showed their love when alive and had, in one sense or another, died for that love and in the expression of their love. In the short story, “The Dead,” a husband finds out about a long dead young boy who had loved his wife deeply and had died in expressing his love and how his wife had a life, secret and deeply meaningful, that did not include him. The same occurs to Mel in Raymond Carver’s story. Although Mel does not want to admit or agree with his wife that her abusive husband did deeply love her. “Sure, it’s abnormal in most people’s eyes. But he was willing to die for it. He did die for it.” But Mel says, “’I sure as hell wouldn’t call it love.’” This argument continues all evening.
After this evening, I feel that Laura will never see Mel’s love for her in the same way because he wouldn’t or couldn’t concede that, albeit messed up, another man loved Laura so deeply, at least the way she sees it. So is Laura really as lovable as she wants to believe herself to be? “’You can grant me that, can’t you?’” We also see how scared Mel was and probably reinvigorates Laura’s understanding of her new husband’s lack of courage.

 First person point of view / past tense / Albuquerque / sitting around a table with a bottle of gin and an ice bucket in the center / they are all getting more and more drunk / two couples / predominantly dialogue / Dr. Melvin R. McGinnis, Teresa called Terri, Laura, narrator (Nick) /

I read this story again because it is in the new issue of Zoetrope: All-Story. I had to go buy it off the shelf as something has happened to my subscription. Anyway, that aside, I'll use any excuse to read a Raymond Carver story again. This short story was called "Beginners" prior to Gordon Lish's editing.

QUOTED FROM THE LIBRARY OF AMERICA VOLUME, Carver: Collected Stories.
page 1003
Beginners. Beginners: 33-page manuscript cut by 50% for inclusion in WWTA as "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love." PREVIOUS PUBLICATION: A version of "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" that was the product of Lish's second editing of Beginners and his corrections to the printer's manuscript of WWTA appeared in Antaeus, Winter-Spring 1981. NOTE ON WWTA: The Beginners manuscript of "Beginners" bears corrections in Carver's hand, including his cancellation of the two final sentences: "Then it would get better. I knew if I closed my eyes, I could get lost." In Lish's first editing of the story he cut the last five pages. In his second editing he changed the title from "Beginners" to "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" and deleted the names of the old couple "Anna" and "Henry [Gates]." SUBSEQUENT PUBLICATION: "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" was collected in WICF as it appeared in WWTA. "Beginners" was published in The New Yorker of December 24-31, 2007, as it appeared in the Beginners manuscript.

03 November, 2014

Kathryn Harrison, "Pilgrim's Progress"

A Joan of Arc enthusiast, fanatic she calls herself, goes on a tour, i.e. pilgrimage, to France with a group of others. It is hilarious as she tells of her trials and tribulations of traveling with strangers and group leaders who turn out to be Christian evangelicals. I loved this story and laughed all the way through it.

I suppose one has to acknowledge the title is the same as the famous Christian allegory by John Bunyan from 1678. I've never attempted to read the 17th century work but Harrison's short story does also include some of the narrator's difficulties with and deliverances from religion.

Kathryn Harrison is actually a Joan of Arc scholar.

The first person POV and present tense help make the reader feel like he/she is on the trip as well. "Pilgrim's Progress" is in the current issue of Zoetrope: All-Story, Volume 18, Number 3, Fall 2014.

16 October, 2014

Cornell Woolrich, "It Had to be Murder"


The current issue, Fall 2014, of Zoetrope: All-Story, includes the short story that was the basis of the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock movie, Rear Window. The story, like the movie, is suspenseful.

The noir story is told in first-person and is 14 pages long. There are many suspenseful sentences in just the first two pages that moves the action along at a nice clip. "It would have killed them to stay home one night..."

"If I had an ill wife on my hands..."

"Before it did, I withdrew several yards inside my room, to let it go safely by. I didn't want him to think I was prying into his affairs."

"His stare betrayed external preoccupation, outward interest."

"...I hadn't seen the woman all day."

"As though there were no one to remove it for anymore."

"The first link, of the so-strong chain of habits, of custom, that binds us all, had snapped wide open."

While the obvious theme is of killing and murder, another theme can be said to be about "delayed action."  The protagonist realizes the significance of "a sort of formless uneasiness, a disembodied suspicion, I don't know what to call it, had been flitting and volplaning around in my mind, like an insect looking for a landing place."

The author uses "delayed action" several times in the story to point out that sometimes we don't really know what we've seen, we've only been looking and the significance might become apparent later when we realize we've seen something.

This issue of the journal was designed by Martin Parr.

21 August, 2014

Yuko Sakata, "Reclaimed"

Miwa has become a "Silenced." She had been an architect and married but now works as a receptionist at a division, "notorious for wasting words." She is a widow and had merely stopped reporting to her job as an architect for many months after the sudden death of her husband.

When she loses her voice, she is required to enter a facility and read texts, random texts and even just lists given to her. "She is led to a cubicle and asked to read a script into a microphone. She feels silly doing this, particularly with no voice..." In this way she is to "reclaim" the words, otherwise they are wasted. One day, many months in, she reads a text that is "refusing to pass through." This particular passage is "vague yet familiar." She wants to stay with the words for a bit but she's required to finish the day's pile before she can catch the train to go home. So she "folds the paper three times and slips it into her pocket."

Simultaneously with her loss of her voice, many birds simply fell out of the sky and frightened the residents. It was at first thought that the people afflicted with silence were connected somehow to the bird deaths. Miwa is required to report to the facility each day but is followed by a man who is at once stern and yet friendly. It is also interesting that Aya, Miwa's co-worker, seems to enjoy Miwa's company more now that Miwa cannot speak back. We all know people who don't care to hear what we have to say, they just want us to listen to them. "Aya seems even more drawn to Miwa in her current state."

"Reclaimed" is an interesting story about language, mourning and death, and memory. What are the roles of words and how do they work or do not work for us? Words are powerful but abstract. Can words help us remember? Sometimes we realize that our voices are "hardly required at all" meaning that we have no voice, no power. Miwa shreds documents, i.e. words, and yet has to reclaim words reading them "out quiet."

All in all, it is a sad story that death, one's death, is that and only that. It affects not too many people, actually, but the effects is does have are deep and painful.

"Reclaimed" by Sakata is in the Spring 2014 issue of Zoetrope: All-Story.


30 October, 2013

Karen Russell, "Madame Bovary's Greyhound"

Russell has taken Flaubert's novel, Madame Bovary, and re-told the story from the dog Djali's POV with some shifting. In many ways, the story is Emma's but experienced by Djali. Djali had tried to be happy and at times was until she escaped. There are many wonderful sentences and Djali's point of view is compelling.

In the second section, Emma and Djali become depressed and "to the baffled Dr. Bovary, seemed bewitched by sadness."

In the third section, Djali daydreams how she might have been able to have a different owner and different life which parallels Emma's desires. The Bovary's plan to move and Djali runs free.

In the fourth and fifth sections, Djali's new life in the wild is in vast contrast with her earlier life with Emma. Djali is exposed to things she's never experienced. However, "…had the winds changed at that particular moment and carried a certain woman's lilac-scented sweat to her, this story might have had a very different ending." I like that a mere breeze could have altered Djali's fate.

Djali mirrors Emma's pain for another, "…unable to cure her need for a human…"

The POV shifts to Emma and her lover Rodolphe. In section VI, Djali falls into a ravine and breaks her leg. Rodolphe ends his affair with Emma via a note. And, Djali is rescued by a game warden and renames her Hubert. Five years pass. Emma Bovary happens to attend a mourning at Hubert's mother's grave. Emma sees a greyhound, Djali, but has no idea or even remembers her old dog. However, Djali recognizes Emma. "Something bubbled and broke inside the creature's heart." Emma almost remembers. I like to think that Djali obeys her own sit command choosing Hubert her master. However, it could be read either way.

FAVORITE LINES:
"Lumped in the coverlet, Charles's blocky legs tangled around her in an apprehensive pretzel, a doomed attempt to hold her in their marriage bed."

"Fleas held wild circuses on Djali's ass as she lay motionless before the fire for the duration of two enormous logs, unable to summon the energy to spin a hind leg in protest."

"Undeliberate, absolved of rue and intent, the dog continued to forget Madame Bovary."

"…a spill of jeweled rot like boiling cranberries."

"And then the dog remembered, too, calloused hands brushing dead leaves from her fur, clearing the seams of blackflies from her eyelids and nostrils, lifting her from the trench."

Karen Russell was recently awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. "Madame Bovary's Greyhound" was published in Zoetrope: All-Story, Summer 2013, Volume 17, Number 2.

LINKS:

Karen Russell, Wikipedia
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
New Yorker, conversation with Karen Russell

16 October, 2012

Will Allison, "Atlas Towing"

Two sets of young and immature parents find themselves low on money, short on patience and without much support. One young father makes a huge mistake and the other father wishes he was a better man and realizes that one misguided act could land him in the same position as the other guy.

"Atlas Towing" is from a novel consisting of a set of linked short stories. It's a terrific story and was first published in Zoetrope: All-Story and subsequently in Allison's novel, Long Drive Home. Most currently "Atlas Towing" was included in the anthology Grit Lit: A Rough South Reader.

LINKS:
Will Allison's web page
link to entire story on Zoetrope's web page
University of Southern Carolina Press web page


23 March, 2012

Jim Shepard, "Cretan Love Song, 1600 B.C."

Shepard wrote a one-page story about the Minoan tsunami that killed a father and son. It's written in second-person POV which makes the events happen to the reader. The story takes place in modern times, "...all of Manhattan...," but you the reader are told to "Imagine you're part of the Minoan civilization, just hanging out..." I think the strength of this story is the viewpoint of the coming wave through the eyes of the narrator. "At sixty miles away it already appears an inch tall." The narrator knows death is imminent even as he and his son attempt to run home. The theme, for me, is that while we tend to think we can better ourselves forever, there is indeed an end to that hopeful plan.

24 December, 2011

James Lasdun, "Ate/Menos or The Miracle"

A man wakes with some anxiety and finds himself at church taking Communion despite the fact that he's not Catholic. Shortly after leaving the church service a woman, Madeleine, mistakes him for Matthew Delacorte, a play director. Without substantive consideration he goes along with her mistake until he finds himself at her house and after several drinks, they have sex. The husband, or ex-husband, arrives and reveals that he knows Matthew Delacorte and that this man, Oliver, is not Delacorte. Madeleine has a special needs daughter, about seven, who is locked in a padded room with only cloth toys. Suky who insists on being called Kiku is another iteration of identity crisis or identity change or remaking of identity. The story wraps identity inside identity tied with a bow of physics, Homeric ideas, and magic storytelling. This is a fantastic story and with each reading nuances reveal themselves and the complexity of concepts wrapped in a seemingly simple story. Lasdun's sentences hold astute and probing sentiments. It is written in a first-person POV which is also interesting because it creates another level of identity mystery and first-person unreliability.

"Ate/Menos or The Miracle" was made into a movie called "Sunday" in 1997 and won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival. I put it next on my Netflix queue. "Ate/Menos or The Miracle" is the classic reprint this month in Zoetrope: All-Story.

ONE OF MY MANY FAVORITE LINES:
"The words that left my lips as fact, reached her as fiction."

18 December, 2011

Ernest Hemingway, "The Killers"

Over the past weekends I've watched two versions of "The Killers." The first one from 1946, black and white, directed by Robert Siodmak with screenplay by Anthony Veiller. And, the next one from 1964, starring Lee Marvin, Ronald Reagan, Angie Dickinson, Clu Gulager, and several other famous actors directed by Don Siegel and screenplay by Gene L. Coon.

Really the only thing that the movies, especially the 1964 one, have in common with the short story is that the hunted man, even when knowledgeable about being found, does not try to run away. He allows himself to be murdered. He waits for it. In the first movie, he waits in his room, lying in bed. In the second movie, he sends his auto mechanic students, blind students, out of the room and waits to be gunned down.

The short story only covers the two thugs entering the diner, tying up Nick and Sam in the kitchen with George out front. Then after the thugs leave, Nick goes to the rooming house to warn Andreson that two killers are looking for him and Andreson does not leave or try to run.

Both of the movies spend a lot of time with the back story. Hemingway's short story is mostly dialogue and no back story, only a tiny bit of speculation about the reason the two killers have arrived in town.

31 July, 2011

Stuart Dybek, Oceanic"

The story, "Oceanic," is a great romp through Greek mythology, fairy tales, realism, Romanticism, fantasy, magic realism, and whatever else Dybek dreams or dares to put together. It is divided into 7 sections, 13 pages, with different viewpoints. It is the first story in the current, Summer 2011 issue, of Zoetrope: All-Story.

1. omniscient, tells various versions of the lifeguard's story, had he saved the girl, did a dolphin save him, did he revive the girl with a kiss, etc. And, the myth that the girl pretends to drown so that she can swallow the souls of the lifeguards
2. 1st person POV of Bryan; Duane Shelly, college roommate, convinces Bryan that all it takes to be Romantic is to speak with a Big O, circular vowel; Mariel, Bryan's girlfriend, is the girl who drowned;
3. 3rd person POV, female artist
4. 3rd person POV, female artist, her parents disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle and she is then raised by the twin of her mother, in various mythologies twins can be 2 halves of the same; one evil, one good; sun / moon; earth / heavens;
5. Mariel and Bryan
6. 3rd person POV, balloon man; "Why, my sweet girl, has no one ever told you every umbrella is a big top?" All the world is a circus.
7. Bryan playing Lord Byron (Romantic poet, hero to the Greeks in their War of Independence from Ottomans)

trident=Poseidon=sometimes caused drownings, Neptune, devil
umbrella=big top, circus, symbol in most sections
pink bikini=symbol in most sections

LINKS:
Stuart Dybek, Lannan Foundation
interview with Dybek, Our Stories

30 March, 2011

David Means, " The Butler's Lament"

Previously a tool-and-die man is now a delusional patient at the mental hospital and thinks he is the butler for Lord Byron and/or Lord Leitrim, depending. I had to look up who Lord Leitrim was. Murdered in 1878 and evidently quite a hellish Irish landlord and his murder was the precusor to the Land War. And, of course, Lord Byron, was the Romantic British poet.

There are class clashes in this story with reference to Leitrim, looming bosses, blue-collar workers in the factory, the doctor in charge of the hospital who holds himself apart from the patients. "...at my command, the orderlies ran out to restrain him." I cannot figure out if the doctor knew how The Butler would react when the doctor told him that Lord Byron was fine, or was the doctor pushing for a reaction? At times, I think that the doctor is another patient.

The story is written in 1st-person POV and past tense and is set in a mental hospital. The last part of the story is the doctor telling a fellow female doctor "a few years later" about how he believed The Butler's factory story was an indictment of his treatment methods.

A good portion of the story is The Butler's story about his job in a Detroit factory that made heavy doors, sound proof doors, strong doors such as one might find in a mental hospital. Padded arms in the factory and doors, solid yet with foam, and "pretense of control" turn the factory story into an analogy of the hospital.

This is one of those stories in which you learn more about the narrator by or through his/her observations of others and at times it was even (slightly) difficult (just had to pay close attention) to tell who was speaking, the patient or the doctor. As The Butler ages and evolves into other people, the doctor remains the same.

"The Butler's Lament" is probably under 3,000 words. Published in the Spring 2011 issue of Zoetrope: All-Story.

LINKS:
interview with Means on Rumpus
Wikipedia page
interview with Means at Powell's Books
The Story Prize, interview with Means
Macmillan page

29 March, 2011

Raymond Carver, "Why Don't You Dance?"

Zoetrope:All-Story
"Why Don't You Dance?" is the classic reprint in issue Volume 15, Number 1 of Zoetrope: All-Story. A drunk puts all of his household belongings on the driveway. Everything, the bed, the end tables, record player and plugs them all in so that customers can see that everything works. A young couple stop by because they are looking to fill their new apartment. This story is spare, poignant and twice the girl says, first to the boy, and then to the drunk, that he must be desperate.

Evidently, Will Ferrell will be in a movie based on this short story. The movie, Everything Must Go, will be released in May 2011. I can't wait to see the movie but at the same time, I'm afraid they will ruin the story. Carver is one of my favorite authors and back in the 1980s, his stories really sealed the deal for me that I love short stories more than any other art form. They are capable of what I've wanted to do all my life and that is to understand everything. This story shows a man who no longer cares and his addiction has control of him. It's an honest portrayal without being sappy or pathetic. It's just real with no extra coating or skirting around the issue.

ADDENDUM: I saw the movie and enjoyed it but the only resemblance to the short story is the guy living on his lawn with all of his stuff. It also did not feel as bleak as the story and of course, there's the predictable ending so neatly tied up. 

When I'm back at home, I'll have to look up the pre-Gordon Lish version of this story, if there is one. It is really bare bones and that is one of the things I love most about it. There are no extra words getting in the way of the story.

I just looked at my own blog (duh!) Sept. 2009 and see a few notes about the Lish editing of this story.

LINKS:
Wikipedia, Carver
unofficial Carver site
Will Ferrell movie article

17 January, 2011

Robert Bloch, "The Real Bad Friend"

In this issue of Zoetrope: All-Story, Winter 2010, the historic piece is a story by Robert Bloch in which he built the character that ultimately became Norman Bates in his subsequent novel, Psycho, as well as the famous movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It was fun to read this short story with Anthony Perkins as a visual. I don't think the story is all that well written but I enjoyed it nevertheless. However, the task of portraying the schizophrenic nature of the character, in this story named George/Roderick, builds gradually and contributes to the suspense.

LINKS: Wikipedia entry, about Bloch
Wikipedia entry, about Psycho
Zoetrope:All-Story