Wednesday, August 22, 2007

New Yorker Update

Just recently read three pieces in The New Yorker:

"How I Spent the War; A Recruit in the Waffen S. S." a fascinating memoir piece from Nobel Laureate G√ľnter Grass. Strongly recommended reading.

Significantly less compelling, but still a nice piece of writing is the short story "Faith" by William Trevor.

Both came from the June 4, 2007 issue.

Also, a very good story from Marisa Silver in the November 20, 2006 issue: "Night Train to Frankfurt". The writer Michael Lowenthal, on his non-blog, remarked on the story:

I did, however, read this week's short story, "Night Train to Frankfurt," by Marisa Silver, and I'm very glad I did. The story is about an adult daughter accompanying her elderly mother, dying of cancer, to a German clinic for an alternative treatment. Silver's prose is heady but humorous and full of heart (hearty?), with an almost Philip Rothian (and yet distinctly female) fluidity. Here's an exchange between Helen, the daughter, and her mother, Dorothy:

"Would you like me to read to you?" Helen asked, once they were back in their seats.
"What have you got?"
Helen dug eagerly in her bag. "Vogue. People. Neruda."
Dorothy smirked. "That's cheap, sweetheart."
"You love Neruda."
"Are we searching for my epitaph?" Dorothy said.
"That's unfair," Helen said, with the requisite amount of hurt in her tone. The truth was that she had thought about what to read at her mother's funeral and had made the private decision that it would be Neruda.

I agree with Lowenthal's assessment. It's a haunting journey with an underlying sense of humor in the face of a parent's mortality.

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