new yorker fiction(s)

3/22 – The Pura Principle, by Junot Diaz. Love the voice of this recurring narrator, Yunior…a slang-ridden “Spanglish”, if you will. The plot (and characters) didn’t really stand out from the rest of his stories, but I’m absolutely fine with that. Highly recommend this if you’re looking for a quick taste of Diaz’s work.

3/29 – I.D., by Joyce Carol Oats. This one lost me, which is surprising, seeing as the final half of the story takes place in a hospital morgue. The narrator, Lisette, is a conflicted middle-school girl with a hell of a home life, the details of which are slowly revealed to the reader as the story progresses. This technique effectively builds tension and suspense, but I felt that too much time was spent treading water in the details of Lisette’s morning at school. Loved the apparent use of Lisette’s damaged eyes (which we learn is her father’s fault) as a symbol of her crushed spirit: “Will they heal ever? The broken nerves?” Not broken but dead.

4/5 – Gavin Highly, by Janet Frame. Loved this – pure and simple story-telling, about an odd man named Gavin Highly.  Narrated by a child (who is looking back on this time in her life), which gives it a fantastical/fairy-tale tone…even the most ordinary things are filled with wonder. How lovely is this: “I did not know back then that hearts could be laid out like land and cut in two by storms coming out of the sky, or that dreams could be thrown, as Gavin Highly threw the ashes of his fire or his oyster shells or his old tins and bottles or his scraps of food, deep into the dark flowing divided heart to be buried there.

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