From the collection, The Theory of Light and Matter by Andrew Porter

Hard to say why I only just discovered this writer. I blushed slightly when I bought his new novel In Between Days, (Knopf), and everyone said, “did you read his collection, it’s amazing.”

‘Hole’ is the first story, a wafer-thin affair about a kid who goes down a hole in his driveway and never comes back up. I’m not spoiling it for you; it’s the first sentence of the story. The writing here is a good introduction to the collection, it’s quick and slick, and reflective in the ways that Cheever, Updike and Yates showed readers everyone and everything all at once. It is very easy to compare to Cheever; suburbs, angst among parents, and kids being kids in an adult world.

Tal, the child in question, is mowing the lawn, dumps the grass clippings down the hole, and goes in after them, and that’s it. Tal is dead. Or is he? Our narrator only gives us a few pages to figure this story out, and it’s so strange when you think that the narrator might be Tal from the grave, or that’s what I thought. I know I’m probably wrong, but that’s the whole myth of the story. How much is fiction and the rest, it happened right? Did Tal get forced down the hole? Why did only the survivor of the incident show any kind of guilt? There are more mysteries than answers, but then, that’s the point.