Friday, August 21, 2009

On "I Met Loss the Other Day" by Cara Blue Adams (916 words) ****

Personification is a poetic technique that goes back at least to the days of scripture. I don't think it's a very easy technique to pull off in our ironic age. I'm more prone to laugh at the specter of a balding man in a black cape with a scythe than I am to feel terror. Death, in its real form, seems so much scarier than this cartoon character. But some artists are able to pull the technique off. In the case of Death, I think of the Coen Brothers recent film No Country for Old Men, the way that that guy with a bad haircut becomes a walking embodiment of our dread. Adams uses the technique to masterful effect in this story in response to loss. Perhaps the most magical section of all is the end, where a shift in point of view stabs us for maximum emotional dis-ease. But I won't go deeper than that in my discussion yet I ruin it. Read the piece here at the Kenyon Review.

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