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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, May 21, 2016

Groff story has makings of a thriller but her goals are more elevated

I never really got into Lauren Groff's Fates & Furies though I did admire her clear style and witty observations and asides and both those traits are in force in her captivating, somewhat disturbing story in current New Yorker, The Midnight Zone (don't love the title, had to look it up to remind) in which the narrator is on a roughing-it vacation with husband and two young boys in a remote hunting camp in the Florida swamps (Groff is making a claim to this territory - funny that there are 2 writers "competing" for this turf). They have almost no contact w/ outside world for the week, and narrator is a little freaked out by sounds of Florida panthers near-by, esp at night; husband has to rush back to their home on business for 48 hours, she decides to stay there w/ the boys and, through a stupid and careless accident (she amusingly conveys at the top of the story how she's basically incompetent around the house) she falls and suffers a serious concussion - and the story is about how she and boys cope for a day-and-a-half until husband returns. Could have the making of a thriller or at least a TV movie in this, but her goals are more elevated and we really experience her trial not as a survival story a la, say Gravity or All Is Lost or Room, but as a interior meditation on pain, consciousness, and responsibility. Not sure if this is part of a longer piece - hope not, really, because it stands well on its own, and although I have no way to judge this it certainly seems like she is drawing for and perhaps slightly embellishing some personal experience, which is all to the good - emotion recollected in (near) tranquillity.

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