Thursday, August 11, 2011

On "The Quality of Life" by Christine Sneed (about 4200 words) *****

Here's a story that being at the start of Sneed's fine collection made me understand just why good but not great stories have trouble getting attention. How does one rival a piece like this? The story has a slow-motion punch, each word piling on the next so easily, so simply, that it's hard to see that any tricks whatsoever are being pulled here, and yet we stay captivated, because the situation is captivating. Like the rich man in this story, Sneed weaves a web we can't escape, even if we want to. Here, a young woman is given everything she wants--a great job, great pay, a man, friends, and yet, there's something missing. Call this a critique of materialism, a study in what makes for happiness, or whatever you will, but the one thing I'll call it is great writing. And you can read it here.

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