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Stories 33-35

Between dinner last night and a lazy day today, I've come closer to catching up on my "story a day" intentions.  I'm dividing them into two posts sort of based on where I read them.

First batch, from various not-too-old issues of The New Yorker:

Or Else by Antonya Nelson, from the November 19, 2007 New Yorker.  This one was an almost-accidental re-read.  I grabbed two New Yorkers to take to dinner with me last night, and discovered that I've read this story before.  Either I read this back in November and then forgot to toss the issue in recycling, or I read it someplace else.  Either way, it's a good story.  David brings his newest girlfriend to his family's small cabin in Telluride, but nothing goes as planned and we learn truths about David's past.  It's sort of a memory-play in the way it's laid out narratively, and I actually found myself identifying with David.

Found Objects by Jennifer Egan, from the December 10, 2007 New Yorker.  Also structured as something of a memory play.  Egan's main character is a kleptomaniac named Sasha who is in therapy with a doctor named Coz; the narrative alternates seemlessly between her latest session with Coz and the events of a few nights before, starting with a pale-green leather wallet in a restaurant restroom.  I'm not sure I actually liked Sasha as a character, but her challenges are what propels the story towards a satisfying end.

The King of Sentences by Jonathan Lethem, from the December 17, 2007 New Yorker.  I liked the main characters of this one the least of the three.  The unnamed Narrator and his girlfriend Clea are the sort of young pretentious bookstore clerks / readers who give the word "snob" its meaning.  They are obsessed with sentences (I'm not sure they've ever actually read a book for plot or character), and with the sentences of one reclusive author in particular, to the point of stalking.  I can't say what I thought of the ending without giving said ending away, but it was the part of the story I enjoyed the most.

A quick search of The New Yorker's site tells me that all three of these stories are still available online to be read, at http://www.newyorker.com/fiction .   I may have to skim that list, see what else is on it and pull those stories out of my little folder and read them before they drop off the site, just in case my reviews inspire anyone else to read them.

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A Story A Day Keeps Boredom Away

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