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Two New Yorker stories

"The Years of My Birth" by Louise Erdrich (The New Yorker, Jan. 10, 2011): Tuffy is an unexpected twin, born deformed and nearly dead, and immediately given up by her birth parents. She is taken in (though never officially adopted) by a Native American couple, and grows up as part of their family on the reservation. This story is narrated by Tuffy in late middle-age, when her birth mother and brother suddenly reappear in her life. Erdrich uses plain language to powerful effect, especially in describing the strange presence that Tuffy feels and ascribes to her twin brother. But it's one of those stories that just stop rather than ending, and that detracted from my appreciation.

"The King of Norway" by Amos Oz (The New Yorker, Jan. 17, 2011): I have slowly been developing an appreciation for Amos Oz. By this I mean that I've read a couple of his novels and a handful of short stories, with anywhere from five to ten years in between each. For some reason, I seem to like each subsequent better than the last, and this story is no exception. It's a strange little piece, with little dialogue, few scenes, and a whole lot more "telling" than "showing", but I liked it. The story concerns an aborted friendship between a morose gardener and a widowed teacher on an Israeli kibbutz, and although nothing much happens, I found it surprisingly touching.

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
talekyn
Feb. 9th, 2011 09:14 pm (UTC)
I have both of these New Yorker issues near the top of the ever-growing "To Be Read" pile. I really need to finish commenting on the stories in The Way of The Wizard (I finished the book, just haven't posted all the thoughts yet)and then make some time to read at least part of that pile of New Yorker stories.

That said -- I often love Erdrich's work. And I've been hearing about Oz for ages but don't think I've read anything by him. Looking forward to comparing notes with you!
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