As you may have heard, I am literate. One of the three joys afforded me in life is my subscription to The New Yorker, a magazine so rife with pomposities and pretension I have to read it in seven second bursts or else I fear my being will overflow with joy to such an extent that my heart will collapse into itself. Mostly though, I subscribe for the short stories, which are almost always concisely-written examinations of sad people in exotic locales confronting the biggest of the big life questions. Randomized Premise to Elucidate Things for You: Privileged but emotionally-distant newlyweds decide to forgo a honeymoon to volunteer in Haiti but one of them is a drunk. Another: A widowed Midwestern spends his would-be fiftieth wedding anniversary scuba diving in Australia. He meets at least one drunk. Another: Two disenfranchised, acned teenagers accidentally burn down a partially built condominium in Hawaii. On top of it, one of their dad’s is a drunk.
The linked David Means story does have a few of the aforementioned characteristics. Setting: Early 20th Century Kansas. Characters: Apathetic to Sad. The Questions: BIG. Yet, this story sets itself apart. Means leverages the pulpy premise of mismatched cops on a stakeout to present the reader with a story that touches upon and in turn wallops upon the relativity of memory, coincidence’s stolid might and time’s mutable flow. His profound, pivoting lyricism marries eclectic but intuitive structural choices and it’s like, so good!
I recommend you read it, Reality. He has a very unique way of looking at you.
O’s and X’s,
P.S. The Fiction Podcasts are revelatory. Joshua Ferris’ reading of Adams brought on a significant realignments inside me.