Sunday, September 25, 2011

On "Respectful Beatings for Very Good Help" by G. K. Wuori (5220 words) ***

Much is in the details. In G. K. Wuori's short story, two women, newly arrived to the United States, struggle to make sense of the world around them--this American world, this American work world. Expectations regarding what is acceptable and what is not clash. But growing trouble eventually becomes too large even for those used to different standards of behavior. Action must be taken. Enter an insane old man, whose command of riches allows for such problems to be solved.

But I said that much is in the details. Part of the charm of this piece comes from its mastery of the English language--or lack thereof. Our narrator has mastered the language but not yet many of its nuances and turns of phrase, and as a result, the occasional odd phrasing hits just the right note. Read the story here at the Workplace Anthology or here at the Barcelona Review.

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