Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum, "The Nursery"

A boy accidentally kills a teammate during wrestling practice and, kicked out of school, goes to work with his mom in the nursery.

(from The Pen/O. Henry Prize Stories 2009)

This one had lots of what I love about short stories, and a lot of what I know people hate. First, the hate. Even though it’s short, “The Nursery” is arduously slow and deliberate. It is quiet. Despite its intense subject matter, it builds to a whimper, a decisive but passive anticlimax. All true, but I didn’t mind all that. Except the slowness, I guess. I like it when an author immerses the reader in a specific subculture, for lack of a better word. Fisherman stories that teach you how to fish. Time travel stories that lay some theoretical metaphysics on you. This was a story about growing plants and flowers in greenhouses, and it dropped some knowledge on me. Doesn’t hurt that I am currently growing my own mint and such in a pot out back. The point is, I was sold on the nursery life, believed in its virtues, believed Lunstrum knew all she needed to know.
Here‘s Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum’s homepage.That’s where I got that photo. I’m gonna be reading a lot from this collection, and I don’t wanna use the jacket 20 times. Plus she’s cute.

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