Friday, March 23, 2012

On "Hope You Get Him" by Kate Vukovich (1330 words) ***

I have had friends I liked a lot who dropped out of seeming existence. These days, it's usually easier to track said people down because of the Internet--as long as you have a full name. But I've had a few friends whose full names I never learned or who are Internet absent or whose presence on the Net consists of nothing more than perhaps a comment on a blog somewhere or a dead Friendster page. What is one to do when such friends disappear? Move on, I guess.

But Vukovich's story does something different. Here, the friend drops out--but not quite. Postcards arrive from him with short cryptic messages. There is no return address. The cryptic messages are generic. Yes, your friend is alive, they seem to say, but not much more. They beg for response, for acknowledgment--or do they? I found this piece mildly disturbing--in other words, discomforting in a subtle way that is hard to describe--perhaps because it hints not at a violence that would be shocking but at a distance that is hard to overcome. Are our words just so many communications by postcard? How well do we know those we consider to be important to us? How well do they know us? Is it even possible for us to know each other in a meaningful way? Read the story here at A Fly in Amber.

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