Sunday, August 18, 2013

On "North Of" by Marie-Helene Bertino (5479 words) *****

This is my favorite story from Bertino's marvelous collection. It involves a woman bringing Bob Dylan home to visit her family--a mom who is clueless as to who Dylan is and a brother whose growing hatred of life doesn't allow him even to enjoy meeting a visit by his idol. What I like so much about it is the mix of absurdity--that someone could, on a seeming whim, bring home one of the greatest rock stars of all time (or the president or whomever)--and folks around deal with it so utterly nonchalantly. The narrator shows Dylan all the places she hung out as a child, in a sense sharing her life story. At one moment, someone recognizes Dylan--but as some other star. And yet, behind all of this is a familial relationship that is falling apart and that gives the story its true heart. Read it here at Electric Literature's Recommended Reading.

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