Sunday, June 1, 2014

Twenty Grand by Rebecca Curtis

An awkward young woman observe life in all its ugliness and liveliness

My posting streak was interrupted by laptop theft.  But now I have a nicer one!  Anyway, I had read Rebecca Curtis's recent story in Harpers and realized I needed to read more of her stories.  I loved the story in Harpers.  It sucked you right in then took you on a journey.   The construction was really clever.  Even though none of the stories in this debut collection were as wonderful as that Harper's story, I really enjoyed this collection.  Rebecca Curtis has a unique voice.

This collection had two types of stories.  The first kind were realistic, concerning a sensitive narrator in an intolerable situation with comically dreadful supporting characters. Most of the "realistic" stories are set in New Hampshire, among the meatheads. Those were by far the strongest -- emotionally deep and hilarious.  My favorites were Hungry Self and The Alpine Slide and The Witches. Twenty Grand, the title story, fell in this vein, though the plot felt a little too contrived.  Then there were the more surreal, fabulist stories, with a political orientation.  They were more colorless and and more humorless.  Thinner.  The key thing here is the narrative perspective.

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