Monthly Archives: October 2010

Marlin Barton, "Into Silence"

A deaf woman gets a strange taste of freedom when a WPA photographer comes to stay with her and her mother.

(from The Best American Short Stories 2010)

The sight of a stranger in Riverfield always raised curiosity, and strangers did come through with some regularity these days, looking for work they knew they wouldn’t find or for food they hoped they’d be offered. They were lost men, lost from family and friends, and the closest they could come to home was someone else’s doorstep. This man, though, wasn’t walking alone, and to see her mother walking beside him struck her as a little odd.

I dunno. I guess I was pulled into this one just fine, but I wish it’d felt fresher and had more going on. Kinda boring, at times, but occasionally enlightening. The smart little jolt at the end, while ridiculous, was at least fun. Don’t regret reading it; wouldn’t recommend it.

Steve Almond, "Donkey Greedy, Donkey Gets Punched"

A psychologist takes on a professional poker player as a patient.

(from Best American Short Stories 2010)

Is there such a thing as a poker fiction? I bet there is, and that this is a stellar example of the genre. I’m not sure why I like watching poker on TV — the money? the deception? the who-will-get-lucky-on-the-river moments? — but this story hit me in the same place, with the shrink and the a-hole patient seated across the table from each other. And the end was blunt and unexpected, like the hand that wipes you out at the poker table.

I guess I’m reading short stories again. I read this one at the Hotel des Alpes in Montreal. Yesterday I finished reading Margaret Atwood’s Year of the Flood. I want one of these shirts but $25?!