‘Strangler Bob’, in the Oct 23rd New Yorker is as perfect and satisfying a short story, a…
The New Yorker
I had no intention of reading this story, but it grabbed me. Our hero Scott is a douche bag, and leaves Ellen while she’s at work. He felt the seed of something going wrong growing in his stomach, relationship jitters of the cold feet variety, and presto he’s packing up and taking their car with him. He gets in, turns off his phone, and leaves town. Scott tells us that he’s a DJ, and we get to see him throw down a crazy set in San Francisco.
Dinaw Mengestu’s gotten plenty of press lately due to the buzz around his new book How to Read The Air, and his concurrent appearance on the New Yorker’s 20 under 40 list. The new book, releasing in October, has been listed everywhere as one of the books to read for the fall.
I don’t know why I did it, but I sent Ben Greenman a story recently, and in return, someone from Harper Collins sent me his collection ( I had no idea this collection even existed, and I’m supposed to know about this stuff…right?). Perhaps I’m being told something without actually seeing the person who is telling me? I’ve heard of Mr. Greenman, and he works at The New Yorker, which has been in the news lately, it’s 20 under 40 list rippling out through a ravaged industry, bringing hope to a legion of wanna be writers everywhere.
There is a schism here between women’s fiction and guy reads, isn’t there? I know that Goodman is interested in pulverizing Amanda to the bone in order to see what she can make of this character. So there is storytelling sense in having Amanda both jilted and fired. But it’s harder for me to imagine a story where the guy gets jilted and tries to recover. Guys wouldn’t read a story like that. They don’t ever want to see themselves as victims. They want to commit the act, even if it involves wrongdoing. Anything rather than be the sufferer. But women, it seems to me, will eat up a story like La Vita Nuova alive.