Monday, July 18, 2011

On "Break Up" by Douglas Light (1842 words) *****

Susan Minot's story "Lust" consists of a list of a series of incidents and men (much like Kidder's "Beds," discussed here on this blog). It's a technique that is deceptively difficult to pull off. I think the reason is that it's hard to formulate a plot in this manner, and in the end, no matter how interesting the list is, we as readers want it to add up to something.

Light's "Break Up" is another such story--a piece about all the women that this narrator has broken up with. Or, as we read longer, who have broken up with him. What makes "Break Up" work, I think, is that there is an agenda. This guy is talking to someone, trying to make something work out this time. We care. We're interested. We want to know if he will succeed. Something tells me not.

Credit the newly founded Pugilist Press, which is reprinting Light's novels, with bringing this author to my attention. I think I'll be reading more of his stuff. Read this story here at Failbetter.

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