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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

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Desolation Row - two more stories in current New Yorker

Jonathan Safran Foer's very short story on the marriage of Adam and Eve isnot so much a piece of short fiction - I don't really know even how to assess it as such - but a cri de couer. JSF's view of marriage as dpeicted in this short piece is about as dark as you can get - A&E are in love w/ one another because he's blind and thinks she's beautiful and she's deaf and thinks he's, I don't know, funny, articulate, kind? Gradually over the course of the marriage they come to their sense, so to speak, and begin to despise each other. Ultimately, all A wants is peace but he cannot get this - God and angels look on from above and, as I recall, God essentially shrugs his shoulders and says that the way it is. I can't imagine anyone take solace or even a bit of joy from this story, and hope that it's just a JSF toss-off and not, as I have to suspect, a cry of despair from within his own (prominent NY literary) marriage. Also in current NYer double issue is a piece from Primo Levi about the hstory of centaurs - fine if you like that sort of thing. My guess is PL didn't like it much which is why this piece, presumably, has never been published or at least never translated - and will be included in a multi-volume set of the compete Levi now int he works. He seems to be emulating Borges, Calvino, maybe Landolfi and striving for the fantastic - though w/out their wit and imaginative reach. His greatest works are realistic testimonies to the suffering of his life, fiction and nonfiction (memoir), and this story shows he tried his hand at other forms but will not advance his posthumous reputation.

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