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2014 Story 73

From the February 10, 2014 issue of One Story magazine (#189, which just showed up in my mailbox yesterday):

73. ASTONISH ME by Maggie Shipstead   Shipstead's story is a wonderful character piece (if it were in first person, I'd call it a great monologue) about a woman who does the right thing for what she thinks are the right reasons, only to slowly discover that life doesn't always recognize and reward the right things.  It's 1975, and Joan finds herself the key component in the defection of a Russian ballet star. Through present tense and limited flashback, we get a solid sense of who Joan is, how she views the world and how events sweep her along and fail to allow her the time to analyze what she's doing (except for one key moment early in the story where having the time to navel-gaze causes problems). I found that I could recognize bits of myself and people I know in Joan and her reaction to being on the periphery of History.  (Side Note: This is apparently an excerpt from a forthcoming novel. It doesn't read like one.)

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