Friday, March 2, 2012

On "Exposure of the Breasts While Being Demeaned" by Dennis Kaplan (8445 words) *****

I like a good mystery, especially when it doesn't involve murder or some other typical crime. Creating a mystery is a natural way to make a story interesting, since readers are curious people. In a sense, all stories are mysteries of a kind. We read to find out what happened or what will happen. We read to find out how a character changed or didn't. We read to find out why a character is the way he or she is. We read for information we do not know.

Kaplan's "Breast" story is a mystery that may or may not involve a crime. It's rooted in a strange phone call that one Lillian Kern receives one day regarding a psychology experiment in which she once took part. Someone's trying to track down the participants--ten years later. Who is this person and why do they want to know who was involved? That's just the start. As the story proceeds, we end up wondering if the experiment is what it was supposed to be or whether more sinister ideas were at work--or whether those doing the tracking are more sinister. I even ended up wondering at one point about the main character's husband. The piece, as I'm thinking of it now, actually reminds me a bit of Thomas Pynchon, which its focus on these kind of why questions about our pasts interacting with worlds we cannot even begin to fathom. In fact, the whole search seems, in a way, like yet another psychology experiment of dubious taste--but then, as the narrator's husband might say, that's life. This one seems much shorter than its 8,000-plus word length. Read the story here at Eclectica.

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