Charles D’Ambrosio, "Up North"

Daly joins his girlfriend and her family in their wintry hunting cabin.

(from The New Yorker, Feb. 14, 2005)

This story was very good at making me uncomfortable. Not squirmy, just apprehensive. The hunting, the suspicions of a rapist in the midst, the infidelity, etc. Off-putting.
And aha, you say, this story has accomplished something! It has instilled in the reader an intense response. Success. No, that’s not it. Simply evoking a reaction from me is not so hard. Slap me, hit me in the shin with a vacuum cleaner, sneak cheese into my scrambled eggs. I’ll react.
“Up North” inspired discomfort, but the sharp descriptions of people and settings made me turn the pages for more punishment. It also helps that he lets the reader deal with the freaky bits without analyzing them too much. It’s not mind-blowing, but it’s a good read. You will find it here.

It’s the second day of Recommendation Week. This story’s value was hinted at in a letter from reader Leigh Newman. Yes, the very same Leigh Newman whose story I read March 1, 2005. Awesome.

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