Margaret Atwood, "The Boys at the Lab"

With her mom infirmed and fading, trips down memory lane are a way to hold on.

(from Zoetrope All-Story, Fall 2006)

Some very satisfying prose and neat ideas in this story. There were times when I suspected some sort of Cold Case-type twist, but I was underestimating Atwood’s skill for conjuring action out of the everyday. Looks like this story was based, at least in part, on the author’s actual childhood experience living in a remote part of Quebec at her dad’s insect research lab. Read about that here. Of course, this might have been a memoir piece, not a short story, given Zoetrope‘s sudden foray into dishonest truthtelling.

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