Daniel Alarcón, "Florida"

Things are redundant and unstimulating working at the copy shop.

(from The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2005)

Nicely told, rich in details, highly atuned to interesting ways in which life can be sad and lived dishonestly. So I liked it.
But I’d also like to point out this story’s adherence to/application of a particular storytelling device. “Device” has negative connotations but we must ignore our Luddite leanings here: Not all devices are bad, so long as we accept them, understand them, use them properly. The device I’m referring to is the future-tense epilogue. I’m sure you’ve read a story does that this: It’s all present-tense-I-am-a-man-of-constant-sorrow and then, at the end, it gets kinda I’ll-fly-away. Things are a bit bleak and a touch hopeless, but then our fearless narrator says he’s gonna get out of this place if it’s the last thing he’ll ever do. A fine device. It makes us, the readers of earth, feel good about things if we believe the guy can do it, or sad if we can tell from our overhead perspective that the guy is trapped and incapable of saving himself. But it’s a device.

The Mountain Goats, “Pigs That Ran Straightaway Into The Water, Triumph Of”

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