Lisa Halliday, “Stump Louie”

A two-bit entertainment scam artist latches onto a pop piano whiz.

(from The Paris Review, Summer 2005)

This story feels sorta classic the way it revels in pre-WWII America, its people, its music, its adolescent views on celebrity. The perspective spilts midway between the talent-finder and the talent, but it’s natural. Luigi is just more interesting, more mysterious than Sternlight, so when he comes along, the story is wise to go where it is. The ending seems like a tiny cop-out, but seriously, where is the story supposed to go after that?

One thought on “Lisa Halliday, “Stump Louie”

  1. Ookla the Mok

    Yeah, I just listened to the IPR reading of it. The ending is very much a cop-out. The author could have easily woven the war clouds gathering into the story. As it stands, you have no idea a war is going on — much less who we’ve fighting — if you don’t know the dates. Because of that lack, the ending is Deux es Machina. But it’s a first try, so, best of luck on the next one. Endings are often difficult for beginners.


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