Charles D’Ambrosio, "The Scheme of Things"

Addicts cum door-to-door petty con artists wander into a small Iowa town.

(from McSweeney’s Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Secrets)

A beautiful story. At times spooky, or heartbreaking, or aggravating. Some images — the buttery pie, the clean shaven face — are detailed and clarion. Other parts of this story are told through a cheese cloth. The author has us wrapped around his finger. And at 30 pages, did he have to let it linger? But, no, really, this story did not drag or wander, though the same could not be said for its main characters. Though I predict an epiphany on the horizon.
I like the part where, for no other reason than to experiment with a rare tactile sensation, Kirsten places her hand onto the dusty road.
A lot of times, I am hesitant to reveal too much about the story, because, surprise is, like, so great. This story, in particular, has a plot but its beauty is down there in the dust, traveling word-to-word. What? Point is, go here and read the story. Then try to tell me these characters aren’t pulled right out of a Mountain Goats’ song.

* * *

Some time soon, and for the first time ever, I will answer some mail and post a list of stories I would like for people to lend me. If you were thinking about writing me, well, c’mon already.

One thought on “Charles D’Ambrosio, "The Scheme of Things"

  1. Anonymous

    I also read this story for my American Short Stories class, and really enjoyed it. I loved the supernatural feel it gave with out it actually saying the girl was a ghost, the author left that for the reader to think about. The whole story was well put together.


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