Alice Munro, "Hired Girl"

A girl takes a summer job as a housekeeper for a rich couple.

(from The View from Castle Rock)

I’m a perfect mutt.

Alice Munro is the bee’s knees, the hornet’s cornet, the macaroni’s elbows. Few authors can kick so much ass with such simple action, such smart distillation of language. The surprises come from subtlety and insight, and beautifully unique moments. In this story she paints youth and age so smartly, giving neither a free pass or a hard time.
In the I Read A Short Story league, you come to notice a few common endgame moves, some slick shootout dekes authors like to try out once the overtime is over. One of the most, perhaps, common is the
Future Tense Declaration Epilogue. As in:
And after this dreadful dinner party is over, I will pack up my things and I will leave this place, and I will just walk, walk across the ocean but it will only be as deep as my ankles and while it will be very cold I won’t mind much because I’ll be free and also the air above the water will be temperate.
(For a real example, see Daniel Alarcón’s, “Florida.”)
Another sneaky writer trick is the Connection With The Infinite Epilogue. For example:
And at that moment I was the dinner party, and the ocean and the ankles, and a great peace came over all of us.

“Hired Girl” has one of the best of these I can recall. Trick is to pull the trick without leaning too heavily on it, and to make sure you didn’t look like such a sly little imp any time before then, so nobody see it coming.

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