A boy becomes enthralled by a mechanical girl.
(from The Best American Short Stories 2003)
On one level you’ve got this mechanical-minded kid and what seems to be the strangest most complicated machine he’s ever come across. On another, fairly overt, English majory level, you’ve got a robot girl who’s a metaphor for actual women. Level A works pretty well as an independent dimension, some kinda freaky, mysterious sci-fi plane of existence. Level B, while not too cunning a literary invention, makes the story a big, creepy psychodrama. The curious writing style — no quotations marks, a hovering, omniscient narrator, events hinted at before they happen — adds to the tension and heightens the experience. A fun, spooky, sometimes uncomfortable, occasionally gross, often surprising read.
This story was recommended by reader Dan Wickett, of Michigan.
I bought The Best American Short Stories 2003 today at Borders, along with McSweeney’s Number 15 (which is old) and Fiction Vol. 19, Number 1. I first looked for used copies of BASS 2003 at Book Trader (nope), Big Jar (closed, mysteriously) and Robin’s (not that I saw). I was at Robin’s to watch the winners of City Paper‘s fiction contest winners read their works, including David J. Snyder’s whose story I read on March 17.
When I got home, I found I’d received my next issue of One Story. Yesterday I went to a new bookstore on Fourth Street called Junco and Grouse. Nice place. Small. Blugrass on the radio. I bought a collection called The Moderns, edited by LeRoi Jones (featuring Kerouac, Eastlake, Burroughs) and The Best of Roald Dahl, because it’s time I read his adult stuff.
Currently, I own enough unread stories to extend this blog into the world of tomorrow, and beyond. Years, maybe. Gotta stop buying.