Thursday, December 2, 2010

On "The Copy Family" by Blake Butler (2311 words) ****

Here is a story about not just one doppleganger but three. Beyond that, I'm not exactly sure what it's trying to say, but it sure is interesting. I'll take a stab at deeper ideas anyway: The tale starts with one family meeting its copy. Exact in each way, the "real" family pushes the copy family out of its home. Here we have a concern with authenticity. What makes something authentic? And how and why is the authentic preferred to the inauthentic, even when they are exact duplicates of one another? We don't like to consider ourselves just like others in society. We like to think ourselves unique, and so our actions dictate the killing off of our duplicates, setting ourselves off. Except . . . Sometimes duplicates are better--or just as good. Despite ourselves, we settle on our copies, just as our children often grab the lion's heart of love from their parents (spouse for spouse, person for self). Anyway, that's one reading. Maybe you can find another here at Fifty-two Stories. (Word is, Butler has a new novel coming out this spring--I look forward to it.)

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