Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events by Kevin Moffett

By | on January 6, 2012 | 0 Comment

From Further Interpretations Of Real-Life Events: Stories by Kevin Moffett
Harper, March 2012

Fathers and sons write about each other all the time. Sons seem to write more about their fathers than anyone would like to admit. When the father writes shorts stories just like the son, then that’s something else. Kevin Moffett delivers the characters of this story like a true father and son, the arguments are real, and they have a forever-binding tragedy dropped in their laps. The son is a bit of show off, like someone that screams I’M A WRITER, LOOK AT ME!. The father writes and submits his stories to the same journals his son does. The son narrates his story, and discusses at length the death of his mother, all told in a kind of flash forward/flash back I care/don’t care fashion. As if he can’t move around without the stories of his mothers death-rattle sewn into his trousers. All the while the son is taking classes from a drunk professor who offers this advice: “Talent realizes its limitations and gives up, while incompetence keeps plugging away until it has a book.” Teachers should dole out more thoughts along these lines. At least we’d have more realism in fiction.

The death of our narrators mother is a lethal blow, and the story hinges on it. There is also a seamless sadness between the father and son, circling close, but they never really admit that they love each other, no matter how upset they get. This thread gives the story an undefinable charm. It is both compelling, and sadly true. While trying to hammer out one lousy sentence of a short story the son calls the 800 number on the back of a bag of baby carrots and talks to a woman about the origin of carrots. It is this kind of solution to boredom that makes you question how you spend your free time. To give us an insight into his own personal life, when describing his room after a failed attempt at having sex, the son likens the odor of his bedroom to the moistly rotting cavity of a turtle. Scarily perfect. His girlfriend is chiseled with such ease that it gives the reader a firm idea that she could be anyone, or nobody. Toggling around in a any-memory can fit narrative, Moffett slyly captures what the day to day thinking is like of just about anyone. Further Interpretations Of Real-Life Events is the first story in the collection of the same name.


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