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2014 Story 128

From One Story magazine Issue 190, published March 6, 2014

128. OWL by Emily Ruskovich    Ruskovich's tale, set in 1902 in settler territory in the mid-west, is part attempted-murder-mystery, part period piece, part relationship drama ... and it all blends very effectively through the first person narration while leaving the reader plenty of dots to connect that the narrator fails to. The narrator's wife, Jane, has been shot -- accidentally, it seems, but this is open to debate -- in the middle of the night by three local boys who claim they were hunting owls. As the story progresses, the narrator's history with his wife is disclosed in small snippets, and a bigger picture emerges. The most important scenes in the story take place at night, but even the daylight scenes feel dark and muted. The claustrophobia of farm living, at odds with the sense of community the narrator would like to think exists around him, makes the story even more compelling.

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