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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 15, 2015

Writers channeling the voices of teenagers

New Yorker story by Justin Taylor - don't know anything about his work but apparently he's onto his 2nd story collection - falls into the "genre" of writers channeling the voice and sensibility of teenagers, particularly teenagers who are not apt to write stories of their own: maybe Holden Caulfield being the foundational voice (though I guess he could have "grown up" to write stories of his  own, albeit bad ones). I actually have no way of judging the authenticity of this genre, as I know from my reaction to - and my kids' reaction to (when they were teenagers anyway) certain "adolescent" movies like Elephant, which I thought was an authentic view of high-school life and of which they were entirely dismissive. Or think of Juno - a voice that I found to be a screenwriter's words usurping the sensibilities of a child, a voice completely inauthentic. Anyway, where does Taylor stand? What he's written feels and sounds authentic to me, but who am I to know? Authentic or not, I found part of his story, aside from the fey title, So what am I just, gone?, funny, even laugh-out-loud at moments, and compelling - except, as with so damn many stories today, there is absolutely no conclusion, very frustrating because Taylor, more than most writers, does a good job setting a plot in motion: teenage girl meets 30-something man on plane, he starts coming on to her, later after flight sending her suggestive messages, and she sneaks off to meet him - but then - doesn't, and nothing happens. Why would he build toward an important scene and then pull away from it? Or if he must, why wouldn't he offer us something else: girl (Charity) telling all to her mother? calling the police on the guy? Something! I know the feeling: setting a plot in motion and letting it get away from you - but a story doesn't end when the writer runs out of ideas or options, at least it shouldn't. So all told I'm seeing here a write with acuity and deft narrative skills, but not at least in this story a sense of form or of obligation to his readers. I would read more of him, though.

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