“Child’s Play” by William Trevor – Selection 11 of #DealMeIn2018

The Card: ♥3♥ Three of Hearts

The Suit: For 2018, ♥♥Hearts♥♥ is my Suit for stories by the Irish author William Trevor.

The Author: William Trevor has written several of my all-time favorite stories. He passed away in 2017, so there will be no more new stories from his pen, but he wrote so many that I still have a sizable inventory to explore.

The Selection: Child’s Play, from Selected Stories of William Trevor, of which I own a kindle version.

What is Deal Me In? I’m glad you asked!  Full details may be found here  but generally speaking it’s a reading challenge where participants try to read one short story a week for the year, the reading order being determined by the luck of the draw. See here for the list of stories I’ll be reading in 2018. Check the sidebar for links to other book bloggers who are participating in this year’s challenge.

Child’s Play

“Gerald wanted to comfort her, as once his father had comforted his mother, saying he forgave her, saying they would try again. But their game wouldn’t stretch that far… Helplessness was their natural state.”

***Spoilers Follow****

Child’s Play is the heartbreaking story of Rebecca and Gerard, each an only child of one of a pair of couples who were neighbors. The neighboring couples’ marriages disintegrate in the wake of infidelities and jealously, to which Rebecca and Gerard are involuntary witnesses.

When the couples break up, the children each remain with the parent who still occupies the neighboring houses. Eventually those two parents marry each other making Gerard and Rebecca “brother and sister” who become as close perhaps as brothers and sisters by blood would be. Of them, Trevor offers that “They missed the past; resentment and deprivation drew them close.”

The children’s coping mechanism is a game they play in the attic – “their game of marriage and divorce,” their understanding of these institutions cobbled together from personal memories (which they often reenact) and “from information supplied by television.” (“…they watched a television serial in which the wronged ones made a kind of fuss that both Gerard and Rebecca had witnessed.”) What chance for happiness do these children have in such circumstances?

Even less than you think, since the story comes to an end as Rebecca’s birth mother decides to regain custody of her “a court of law would put the matter right, no doubt about that: a child goes to the mother if the mother’s fit and well.”

As with a few other sad stories of Trevor’s that I’ve read, I still “liked” it in spite of that, as Trevor’s writing is so nearly perfect.

What about you? Are there some sad stories you’ve read but liked anyway? I’d think, generally speaking, this phenomenon is somewhat rare as it seems such a difficult thing to pull off.

Advertisements

Rose Wept by William Trevor – Selection 9 of #DealMeIn2018

The Card♠Ten♠ of Hearts

The Suit: For 2018, I have devoted the suit of ♠Hearts♠ to the stories of William Trevor, a personal favorite author of mine who passed away in 2017.

The Selection: Rose Wept – from the collection “William Trevor: Selected Stories” which I own via an e-copy

The Author: William Trevor. A “KBE” (Knight of the British Empire), Trevor is widely acknowledged as one of the best contemporary writers of short stories. I was first introduced to him via the “Ana the Imp” blog (sadly, no longer active) whereafter I read through his great collection “After Rain.” The title story of that volume after rainremains one of my all time favorites. I blogged about it here. There are a couple other stories of his that I’ve blogged about before, Gilbert’s Mother and Lost Ground. “I’m very interested in the sadness of fate, the things that just happen to people,” – William Trevor (as quoted by Publishers Weekly in 1983)

What is Deal Me In? I’m glad you asked!  Full details may be found here  but generally speaking it’s a reading challenge where participants try to read one short story a week for the year, the reading order being determined by the luck of the draw. See here for the list of stories I’ll be reading in 2018. Check the sidebar for links to other book bloggers who are participating in this year’s challenge.

Rose Wept

“She wept for his silent suffering, for his having to accept a distressing invitation because of her mother’s innocent insistence… She wept for the brittle surface of her mother’s good-sort laughter and her father’s jolliness, and Jason’s (her older brother) settling into a niche. She wept for all her young life before her, and other glimpses and other betrayals.”

Rose Dakin is a marginal student, one on the cusp of being admitted to a good university. What do well-meaning parents do when their child is in that situation?  Well, if you’re the Dakins, you hire a tutor to ensure a successful move for your child up the next rung of the latter.

The occasion of the story is a dinner party to celebrate Rose having been admitted to university and, since the tutor, Mr. Bouverie, was instrumental in her success, he and his wife were invited. His wife “can’t make it” and therein is the introduction of the gist of the story, the whole of which takes place at the dinner, but, through flashbacks, we learn “The Rest of the Story” about Mr. (& Mrs.) Bouverie. Seems all this time – a year of Thursdays – whenever Rose would visit him, Mr. Bouverie’s wife would use the time to entertain a special male “guest,” a certain “Mr. Azam.”

When she realizes what is going on, Rose at first feels terrible for Mr. Bouverie, yet indelicately shares the knowledge with her gaggle of young friends. Later, to her increased horror, she realize that Mr. Bouverie is aware that this is going on. As one of her friends says “When a husband knows, he’s not so much a cuckold as complaisant.”

During the dinner Rose imagines what hell the life of Mr. Bouverie must be, and regrets not being there for him as some kind of confidant, but “had betrayed him” (by telling her friends) even before he offered any confidences.

A sad and bitter story which left me wondering how Rose would “do” at University – and indeed for the rest of her life. If I were a betting man, I’d say her parents “won’t be much help.”  It’s as if this one dinner laid bare all the pitiable features of her life – and Life with a capital L as well. I hope she makes it.

♫♫ Personal Note:  I did learn a new “word” while reading this story.  Do you know what a “Gooseberry Fool” is?  It’s an English Dessert made by “folding pureed stewed fruit (normally Gooseberries) in sweet custard”  (or whipped cream). According to Wikipedia, ROSE water may be added as a flavouring agent, so there’s my Deal Me In coincidence of the week.  P.S. Looks delicious!

What short stories did YOU read this week? Are you enjoying the “8th Annual” Deal Me In challenge?

The Hill Bachelors by William Trevor – Selection 4 of #DealMeIn2018

The Card: ♠Eight♠ of Hearts

The Suit: For 2018, I have devoted the suit of ♠Hearts♠ to the stories of William Trevor, a personal favorite author of mine who passed away in 2017.

The Selection: The Hill Bachelors – from the collection “William Trevor: Selected Stories” which I own via an e-copy

The Author: William Trevor. A “KBE” (Knight of the British Empire), Trevor is widely acknowledged as one of the best contemporary writers of short stories. I was first introduced to him via the “Ana the Imp” blog (sadly, no longer active) whereafter I read through his great collection “After Rain.” The title story of that volume after rainremains one of my all time favorites. I blogged about it here. There are a couple other stories of his that I’ve blogged about before, Gilbert’s Mother and Lost Ground. “I’m very interested in the sadness of fate, the things that just happen to people,” – William Trevor (as quoted by Publishers Weekly in 1983)

What is Deal Me In? I’m glad you asked!  Full details may be found here  but generally speaking it’s a reading challenge where participants try to read one short story a week for the year, the reading order being determined by the luck of the draw. See here for the list of stories I’ll be reading in 2018. Check the sidebar for links to other book bloggers who are participating in this year’s challenge.

The Hill Bachelors

“It might not have been noticed that these days the bachelors of the hills found it difficult to attract a wife to the modest farms they inherited.”

This was a quietly powerful story. The patriarch of a family has died, and the five children return home for the funeral & cetera. We follow the story through the perspective of the youngest – and only bachelor – son, Paulie. Probably few of us have not experienced the bittersweet reunions that such occasions create. As someone who has,  I can say that Trevor’s descriptions and summary of the events that follow hit very close to the target.

Paulie’s mother is of an age where she will be too old to manage the farm herself, even with the help of neighbors, which she argues would be enough to sustain her without one of her children (Paulie, being a bachelor and “only” having a job that would be easy to quit, being the only candidate) moving back to help her.  He tells her that she’d “be dependent,” but she argues that “You have your own life, Paulie,” to which he replies “You have what there is.” A touching exchange – indeed much of the story is quite touching. There are logistics to be worked out regarding leaving his current job and other sundry tasks related to a death in the family, but, finally,

“He’d taken over. She could feel he’d taken over, the way he’d gone out to see were the heifers all right, the way it was he who remembered, last evening and this morning, that there was the bit of milking to do, that he’d done it without a word.”

Paulie doesn’t mind “taking over” but sadness creeps into the story when we realize that he will not be able to find a wife in the neighborhood. (He’s left behind a girl in the town where he worked, who he thought might be “the one.”) He doesn’t even resent that though (although it pains his mother):

“Paulie harboured no resentment, not being a person who easily did: going back to the farmhouse was not the end of the world. The end of the world had been to hear, in Meagher’s back bar, that life on a farm did not attract Patsy Finucane.”

Another great story from Trevor.

What about YOU? How did your Deal Me In reading go this week?

Solitude by William Trevor – Selection 2 of #DealMeIn2018

The Card: ♥Ace♥ of Hearts

The Suit: For 2018, I have devoted the suit of ♥♥♥Hearts♥♥♥ to stories by Irish writer William Trevor, a widely acknowledged titan of the short story form. He passed away last year; how sad that there will be no more new stories from his pen.

The Selection: Solitude, from William Trevor: Selected Stories. I selected it solely because of the title, for I am among those who often enjoy solitude. 🙂

The Author: William Trevor. I became acquainted with Trevor through his collection, “After Rain,” which I acquired back in 2010. The title story of that volume after rainremains one of my all time favorites. I blogged about it here. There are a couple other stories of his that I’ve blogged about before, Gilbert’s Mother and Lost Ground.

What is Deal Me In? I’m glad you asked!  Full details may be found here  but generally speaking it’s a reading challenge where participants read one short story a week for the year, the reading order being determined by the luck of the draw. See here for the list of stories I’ll be reading in 2018. Check the sidebar for links to other book bloggers who are participating in this year’s challenge.

Solitude

“In the hotel where I live, in Bordighera’s Regina Palace, my friends are the dining-room waiters, and the porters in the hall, and the bedroom maids; I do not turn away such friendship and I have myself for company too. Yet when my face is there in the glass of my compact, or reflected in shop windows when the sun is right, or glimpsed in public mirrors, I often think I do not know that woman. I wonder when I gaze for a moment longer if what I see is the illusion imposed by my imagination upon the shadow a child became, if somehow I do not entirely exist. I know that this is not so, yet still it seems to be.“

This story is the first person account of a girl named Villana told from when she was a little girl of undisclosed age (though young enough to still have imaginary friends) to being a teenager, to being fifty-three years old and living on after the death of her parents. It’s the evolution of her relationship with the parents across the decades that makes this story worth reading.

When Villana is in her youth, her father is often absent (he’s a kind of “wanna be Egyptologist”) which leads her mother to find a new (male) “friend.” While they are certainly not the first family to encounter such “difficulties,” their case is made especially painful due to the mother & friend’s careless lack of discretion, which leads to Villana witnessing something “no child ever should.”

How this “secret” effects Villana then, and at different stages of her life is the engine that drives the story, which takes some twists and turns – including a real shocker that is thrown in, if only by implication. Her later life seems a sad and incomplete one, as the quotation shared above no doubt let’s you know. Perhaps it is her parents’ “normalizing” the past indiscretion – or at least not making a “big deal” out of it, which contributes most to her life of solitude.

“There is no regret on my mother’s part that I can tell, nor is there bitterness on his; I never heard a quarrel.”

Maybe if there had been a standard “row” about it there would have been closure for her, and she would have led a more normal life. Certainly a sad story, but one well told.

Two down and fifty to go! How did your #DealMeIn2018 reading go this week?

 

Deal Me In – Week 12 Wrap Up

20140316-155641.jpg

First, how about a Short Story QOTW?
Haruki Murakami: “My short stories are like soft shadows I’ve set out in the world, faint footprints I’ve left behind.”

Below are links to all the posts I saw as of the time of this writing. If there’s one I missed, feel free to link in the comments to this post. As always, I encourage everyone to visit and read the posts of your fellow participants, leaving a comment if you wish.

Hanne five of spades (Napoleon!) led her to share the William Trevor story “On the Sreets” http://readingoncloud9.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/week-11-on-the-streets-by-william-trevor/

James takes a break from connecting his stories – or does he? – with Isak Dinesen’s “The Fish” and Grace Paley’s “The Long Distance Runner” http://jamesreadsbooks.com/2014/03/17/grace-paley-vs-isak-dinesen/

Dale’s three of spades treated us to Ray Bradbury’s tale “Long After Midnight” http://mirrorwithclouds.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/ray-bradbury-long-after-midnight/

Returning Reader’s King of Clubs yielded another story from the Granta Book of the African Short Story, Camara Laye’s “The Eyes of the Statue” http://returningreader.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/short-story-12-the-eyes-of-the-statue-camara-laye/

Katherine at The Writerly Reader joins the mind of Edgar Allen Poe in his story/essay “Maelzel’s Chess Player,” about a chess-playing automaton that was a touring sensation for many years. And she also shares another video with us. http://katenread.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/deal-me-in-week-12-maelzels-chess-player/

(below: “The Turk”, a.k.a. Maelzel’s Chess Player)

20140323-160554.jpg

Candiss drew the three of hearts and so offers us a seat at “a banquet for the open mind” with Jorge Luis Borges’ “The Library of Babel” http://readthegamut.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/deal-me-in-challenge-story-12-the-library-of-babel-by-jorge-luis-borges/

Hanne’s second (week 12) story was Margaret Atwood’s “Stone Mattress” http://readingoncloud9.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/week-12-stone-mattress-by-margaret-atwood/

For my part, I took the train to Ottignies when my four of hearts led me to “From Brussels to Ottignies” by Monica Westeren. https://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/from-brussels-south-to-ottignies-by-monica-westeren/

See you all next week!

It’s Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme sponsored by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s top ten – in recognition of BBAW (that’s “Book Blogger Appreciation Week”) is:

” Top Ten Books I Read Because Of Another Blogger.”

I don’t always do these top ten lists, but they’re always fun and this one also is a good list to give a nod to some fellow book bloggers, so here goes…

9. Oh, yeah.  I forgot to say I only could come up with nine… This one (and the next few) are books that I don’t know where specifically I first heard of them, but I do know I read them because I learned of them within the blogging community.  So for number 9 I’ll go with Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games.  Yes, it’s intended for a little younger reader than me, and yes it’s a little out there, but it was a great story (actually a trilogy, along with the follow-ups Catching Fire and Mockingjay) and a fun, diverting read.

8. The Ubiquitous The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (book and series).  A towering best seller, I think driven by the great character of Lisbeth Salander.  I’d like to meet her.  I think.

7. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.  Another book outside of my usual genre, but an entertaining, diverting read for me.  Here’s what I had to say last year.

6. Beastly by Alex Flinn.  I can’t remember which blog I first heard about this modern retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story.  I did download it at about the same time as my blogging colleague, Jade, at Chasing Empty Pavements though, so I’ll give her a plug.  This book became a pick in my book club as well and we all enjoyed it.  My original post about the book may be found here.

5. Under the Skin by Michel Faber.  Learned about via The Literary Nomad.  An interesting concept for a book blog, where the blogger “visits” a country by reading a book about it or taking place in it.  This book was creepy but a real page turner.  A beautiful alien (reported to be portrayed by Scarlet Johansson in an upcoming movie adaptation) picking up hitchhikers in Scotland.  How could I resist? My original post is here.

4. Gullivers Travels by Jonathan Swift.  I read this one because Allie at A Literary Odyssey hosted a read along.  Like other read alongs I’ve participated in, I started off with great intentions only to fall behind the schedule.  I did finish it, though, and I’m so glad I did.  I took a lot out of it that I am ‘carrying around in my head.’  Truly a classic work, and I can’t believe I waited until I was so “old” to finally get around to reading it.

3. Two on a Tower by Thomas Hardy. I learned of this previously ‘unknown’ Hardy book at Chris’s blog, “ProSe.”  A great, lesser known work by one of my favorite authors with a predictably intricate plot.  Great 19th century literature!  My original post about this book was written back in November 2010.

2. After Rain by William Trevor.   Heard about at one of my favorite blogs, Ana the Imp.  Not exclusively a book blog (lots of politics and history too), but I take her book and movie recommendations seriously.  This is a collection of short stories by an recognized master of the form.  I posted about several of them this year.  Lost Ground, After Rain, and Gilbert’s Mother.  The first two were my favorites.

1. The Warded Man by Peter Brett.  Heard of through Borough of Books. My friends and I have all enjoyed this book and its sequel, Desert Spear.  We are eagerly awaiting the third book…  My praise of the book was written this past May.

After Rain – a short story by William Trevor

Wow, I have really come upon some true gems with the short stories I’ve read so far this year. When I started this reading project, I told myself “Since you’re only obligated to read one per week, you should really make an effort to delve deeply into the stories and try to understand the ones that you may previously have just skimmed through or dismissed.” This story by William Trevor was one that didn’t grab me at first, so I slowed down and made a real effort. It was so worth it.

***warning: some spoilers follow***

At the simplest level, this story is about the aftermath of a love affair that has ended. I can’t imagine there is anyone who is unable to relate to this theme to at least some degree. In the story, the woman, Harriet, goes on a holiday to an Italian resort familiar to her from childhood visits, having decided not to waste the scheduled time that she would have used to go with her former lover to the island of “Skyros.” (Is that a real place? I don’t know.) The story begins with her in the restaurant of this resort – a setting which only emphasizes her single-ness, and one which leads her to speculate on how things could or should have been different for her.

There is one passage where she recalls the dialogue when the breakup occurred. It sounds so real: “…’But weren’t we happy?’ she hears herself exclaim. A little shrill because she can’t help it. Yes they were happy, he agreed at once, wanting to make that clear. Not happy enough is what he meant, and you could tell; something was not right. She asked him and he didn’t know, genuine in his bewilderment.” This has to ring familiar to many…

At one point she meets a fellow solitary diner. An older gentleman who is likely lonely himself. We are treated here to some of Trevor’s great, brief characterizations. The old man’s hair is described as “so sparse it didn’t register whether it was white or gray,” and later we get “He smiles. His teeth are still his own.” I particularly liked that one.

One telling observation I had was that Harriet “knows” the staff of this restaurant, but only superficially. The waitresses are described by their physical characteristics: “the one with the rusty hair,” “the one with a wild look,” “the plump but pretty one,” etc. It’s almost as though her character doesn’t want to be alone “in her condition” and wants to be among people, but doesn’t want any social intimacy with them.

At one point in the story, while waiting out a rainstorm, Harriet becomes immersed in pondering a painting of “The Annunciation” in local church. Trevor’s description of the painting and her reactions to it are masterful. Later, after the rain has passed, she ventures outside again, delighting in the renewing effect the showers have had on the town, the scenery, the fragrances. She is witnessing this landscape in a rare moment. She also realizes that the painting she has just been observing captured a similar rare moment. “The Annunciation” was painted after rain. “It was after rain that the angel came: those first cool moments were a chosen time.” I was blown away by this passage.

What does it all mean? I can’t really be certain. Perhaps the speed bumps of failed relationships are – like some dry and dusty Italian landscape – just preludes to a periodic cleansing and renewing “rain.” Perhaps there is a fully intended religious tie in (The Annunciation is the appearance of the angel Gabriel to Mary, revealing to her that she will conceive a child who is the son of God), but I choose not to interpret the story this way. Whatever the ‘deeper meaning,’ it’s truly a beautiful little story and I would heartily recommend it. It can be found in a collection of short stories with the same name, After Rain….

Gilbert’s Mother by William Trevor

I’ve been slowly working my way through William Trevor’s short story collection, After Rain, for several months now. The title story of this collection is part of my “Deal Me In” short story reading project for 2011, but the other remaining stories are fair game for ad hoc reading whenever I have a spare half hour or so. I had just such a half hour today, and I didn’t want to delve back into The Persian Expedition with Xenophon (mainly because I knew I wouldn’t want to return to the 21st century after “only” half an hour with my mercenary Greek hoplite friends…). So – I chose instead to knock out another William Trevor story.
I first learned of William Trevor at one of my favorite blogs: Ana the Imp. Ana is a young but very astute reader who focuses mainly on history and political topics. She is a great writer, prolific blogger and always seems to have something fascinating to post about. Back in September she introduced me to William Trevor. Her original post about the author can be found at:

http://anatheimp.blogspot.com/2010/09/seanchai.html

As one reviewer on Goodreads.com put it succinctly – and accurately, Trevor is “The master of the quiet, but important story”

The story I read today was wonderful and chilling at the same time. It begins with the news that a young girl is murdered on the way home from work in South London. In the following pages we meet another resident of them neighborhood where this happens. She is Rosalie Mannion, a fifty year-old “single mother” who Trevor describes economically as having a “round, pretty face (that) had taken charge of what wrinkles had come, by chance distributing them favorably.” Isn’t that a great description?

Anyway, what we then learn is that Rosalie has an adult son living with her who has always been a bit odd and troubled. We learn that he is antisocial and even spent a year once in an institution. His mother had hoped they “would keep him” but was assured by the haughty doctors that “as long as he stays on his medication, there’s nothing to worry about.” She knows they are wrong, and her life becomes a kind of private hell as he becomes wont to disappear for sometimes days at a time, during which she hears on the news of crimes or mischief where he has been. He mysteriously acquires a car, is absent from home and in a town where serious arson occurs, etc. etc. Yet seemingly he can also function rather normally in society and even holds down a job in an architect’s office.

What makes this tale chilling is the gradual realization for the reader that “he knows that she knows” (or suspects) that he is evil. Worse yet, she knows that he knows that she knows, and even worse HE knows that… well, you get the picture. She’s too afraid to report him to the authorities – partly because he’s her son, but mostly because of her fear. The reader can imagine the fear and tension that this poor woman lives in day after day, and can sense that there is not likely to be an end to it. A disturbing but masterful short story.

-Jay

“In Hiding” – a short story by Joyce Carol Oates

Yes, I have become addicted to reading a short story in the morning as part of my routine. Now that my “required reading” of short stories for my two book clubs (both meeting today!) has been exhausted, I am turning to a couple other collections I have loaded and ready on my Nook reader.

The first is Joyce Carol Oates’ collection, “I Am No One You Know,” which I purchased because I thought one of the stories was going to be part of my book club’s short story month in July. However, the member who had originally picked a story from that collection (the disturbing “The Girl With the Blackened Eye”) retracted it and picked something else. Too late for me, as I had read it anyway, but now I am left with a whole book of Stories to nibble on in the mornings.  Below: Joyce Carol Oates

The second is William Trevor’s collection, “After Rain,” which was brought to my attention by one of my favorite bloggers, Ana, over at Ana the Imp (a link to her awesome blog is on my blogroll “to the left”) Her blog is often about history and politics, but I have also found her insight on books helpful, and she has yet to steer me wrong. I’ve only read the first story in this collection, but I’m sure I’ll be posting on some of them as time goes by. Below: William Trevor

Back to today’s story. ****SPOILER ALERT!**** “In Hiding” is about a “single mom” poet/writer who finds herself beginning a correspondence with an inmate serving a life sentence (he claims to be innocent, naturally) who has poetic ambitions of his own. Though hesitant, she allows the correspondent relationship to slowly grow, and he sends her more and more poetry and excerpts from his diary. She is painted earlier in the tale as a typical low self-esteemed person; her husband – who she was surprised would ever like her in the first place – left her and she is now living (hiding?) in a small town in New York. I guess this is why she willingly engages in this correspondence.

She sends the inmate some paperback books and other collections of poetry, and even inquires with various publishers about the possibility of publishing some of his poetry, but without success. Eventually, their correspondence lessens to a trickle and then stops. She speculates that perhaps he has found another correspondent and is actually relieved. Some time later, she receives a form letter from an “Innocents Defense Fund” – or something of the like – requesting financial assistance in the inmate’s interest. She sends $500, receiving another form letter that thanks her. She begins to feel that her contribution was too small and sends another $1,500. Another thank you – another form letter – follows.

Nothing happens until one day, looking out the front window of her house, she sees a strange car with out of state license plates in her neighborhood. Something tells her “it’s him” as it creeps past her house and turns right further down the block. It returns shortly after and slows to a stop in front of her house. A man gets out, looking very much like the photos that the inmate had sent her. She retreats to an inner room of the house in fear, and there is a knock on the door. She waits, but then in horror hears her son answer the door (she has forgotten that it’s Saturday, and he is home). He seeks her out In her “office” where she has slid into a closet-like alcove, and the story ends with his inquiry, “Why are you hiding, Mom?”

Short and sweet. I like that how the story ends – or at least what happens next – is left to the reader.

Have you read any Joyce Carol Oates? What do you think of her as a writer?