So many stories I come across may bang around in my head—at best—for a few minutes after I’ve finished them. But I can sit here and recall “A Small Good Thing” in such detail—emotional detail—without even a glance at the text. That’s a well-told story, I’d say.
A boy is hit by a car on his birthday, walks home, seemingly only dazed, and then dies a day later. If asked to write a short story on such a subject, how would you proceed? It would seem logical to imagine the story, in geometric terms, as a closed circle, in which we as readers would be introduced only to the boy’s immediate family: those people most effected by the death. After all, the story is supposed to be short. It might also make sense for the story to end with the boy’s death, so as not to delve […]
On June 9, 1992 I turned seventeen years old and my father gave me a single gift: a book that contained a short story that changed my life. The book was Septuagenarian Stew by Charles Bukowski and the short story was the first in the collection: “Son of Satan.” It’s a simple story, really, just six and a half pages long, propelled by curse-riddled dialogue and clipped, action-filled sentences. Classic Bukowski. But unlike many of Buk’s bum and whore populated tales, “Son of Satan” is told by an eleven-year-old narrator. After the narrator and his two friends accuse another boy […]
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