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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

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Escape to nowhere: bad story in current New Yorker

Yikes couldn't the eminent New Yorker have done better than to procure Zadie Smith's weak story Escape from New York to lead off its summer reading double issue? Come on - we read about a celebrity (Michael) freaked out after an attack on New York, calls his two closest friends, all of 3 of them visiting NY, not clear why, and they agree they have to get out of the city because it's under attack - OK, so we understand that this is 9/11 though I doubt most people had the instinct to move especially not these three, whom we learn are celebrities and all-powerful and have little idea how to take any action on their own behalf - Michael has heard of some places where you can rent a car, something called Hertz, ha ha - anyway Michael picks up the other 2, Marlon and Elizabeth and they head off toward Bethlehem - a town in Pennsylvania, he assures them. Does not take us long to figure out that this is Michael Jackson; as to his friends, are they Brando and Taylor? Were they even alive in 2001? Is there any basis in fact for this story? Not that there has to be - but it would be maybe a little bit interesting if these three had talked about anything in their lives or anything that was happening that day, if they had made even the most casual of observations about the lives led by others (as in say Sullivan's Travels?), in fact had they said or did anything interesting at all in this story other than rent a car (something called a Camry, Michael notes) and get out of town. Stories often begin with a journey, but they journey has to take us somewhere.

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