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2011 Stories 34 - 36

First, one of last year's unread New Yorker stories that I still had laying around:

34. The Kid by Salvatore Scibona, from the June 14-21, 2010 issue of The New Yorker  I'm not really sure what to make of this story: a young boy is left stranded in Hamburg-Fuhlsbuttel international Airport, unable to speak the local language or really any language the staff try. The story goes on to explain how he got there. On the one hand, Scibona's sensory descriptions are great: how the kid is acting and feeling, how the person who left him comes to that decisions ... it's all well-done. On the other hand, while I felt for the kid in question, by the end of the story I pretty much thoroughly hated the coward who left the kid alone. Perhaps that's the author's point ... in which case, well done. But if the intent was to feel any sympathy for the adult character because of the thought process that brought him to leave the child alone ... then the story doesn't work.  We really can only filter our reactions to fiction through our own personal lenses, and I don't want to put words in Scibona's mouth as to the story's intent, so I'll just leave it at this: it's a well-told story with at least one thoroughly unlikeable main character.

And two from the online magazine Every Day Fiction, which I have not visited in a while.

35. Soul Marbles by Aaron Polson, from February 16, 2011  Always a pleasure to see a new Aaron Polson story on the site, and always interesting to see what twist the author is going to bring in the 1,000 words or so allotted to him. I do think Polson is a master of the genre flash fiction form. What I liked about this story was the unreliable, to an extent, narrator. Kids twist events to suit their view of the world, and the narrator in this story makes Zane Bibble out to be the worst kid on the face of the earth while ignoring his own anger issues and family problems. Polson manages, in few words, to show us there are always two sides of the story and how easy it is to ignore our own worse nature.

36. Baggage by Kristina Meyer, from February 20, 2011   I have to admit, I'm biased. The author is an old friend of mine from high school. Still, I think I can be impartial enough to say that this is one of the few non-genre stories posted to Every Day Fiction that actually works for me in the 1,000 words or less format. A piece of missing luggage is at the heart of this story, and what's left unsaid is as important as what's laid out for us. I don't want to give away the twist at the end, but I can say it made me want to know more while still leaving me satisfied that I knew enough.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 25th, 2011 07:56 pm (UTC)
Oh yes, I remember that New Yorker story. This is a perfect example of why I need to keep better track of the short stories I read: neither the title nor the author's name meant anything to me, but your plot synopsis was totally familiar. And I'm with you--that main character is a self-centered jerk.

Also, how cool to read a story by a high school friend! And even better when it turns out to be a good story. :)
Feb. 26th, 2011 06:02 am (UTC)
Yeah, it made me happy that Kris got published, and that the story was something I enjoyed. I'd support her either way, but it's a lot less stressful giving someone a recommendation when you really like what they're doing!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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