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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

To read about movies and TV shows I'm watching, visit my other blog: Elliot's Watching

Friday, May 22, 2015

A super-cool post--post-modern story in the New Yorker - but about what?

Am I missing something? Darthe Nors sotry The Freezer Chest, in current New Yorker, what's going on here? It seems to me some time ago she had a similarly inscrutable story in the NYer, maybe not, but this one seems to be all allusion and suggestion with not much at its cold heart - maybe that's the point, a super-cool post-postmodern story that's too edgy for plot, character, or setting? In short, Young woman reflects back on h.s. years, embarking on a class trip to England (she's Danish), crossing the sea to Harwich, a fellow student on the boat - 25-year-old returning to h.s., apparently not as unusual in Denmark as it would be here - has insulted her bluntly in the past, so she's edgy around him. He's rude to her again, and she bets him a pizza that she can rank higher in school that he on graduation. Months later, yes, she does, but refuses to collect on her bet. His meanness to her on the boat is telling her he used to be a great guitarist but injured his hand when a freezer chest slammed shut. When she offers sympathy he says he was making it all up, making her feel foolish. There are some weird and totally unexplainable references to incest - a topic of interest to the narrator's best friend, Henrietta. We don't know what to make of this - nor of the English teacher chaperone who says he can't believe how young the narrator is. Of her trip to England itself, she sums it up in a sentence: There's nothing to say about it. Is this an author shrugging her shoulders at the reader, or what? Nothing to say about that. Sorry.

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