Monday, January 19, 2015
Reader's Diary #1112- ZZ Packer: Gideon
Before getting into today's short story, a quick explanation to my dwindling readers: I know I haven't been blogging much since the new year, but I've been really busy. I've still been finding some time to read, mind you, and I'm about 3/4 of the way through about half a dozen books. That means that soon there'll be a lot of posting, just not quite yet. On that note, I thank you for your patience.
I still, of course, make time for short stories, and this week's story, "Gideon" by ZZ Packer is quite the doozy. I really enjoyed it, but I'm still trying to decide what to make of it. If it sounds like I'm suggesting that it's a challenging story, I guess in a way it is, but not the for the wordy, magical realism, stream of consciousness offenses that usually give me trouble. On the surface, "Gideon" is a pretty straight-forward, easy to follow story. It's told by a black woman who is dating a Jewish man. The relationship seems to wearing thin, evidenced by her annoyance over his constant philosophizing. Then they have a pregnancy scare the woman makes an interesting choice. It's the choice that's left me unsettled. I feel like there's a moral here, or that we're somehow supposed to justify or at least understand her actions. There are definite themes in the story about racial differences, gender differences, and just plain personality differences, but in the end I can't tie any of it to her choice. But for all that, her choice seems plausible and in character. I'm still scratching my head over it
This is not in any way a complaint. In fact, I enjoy this kind of challenge. But I think I'll need help with this one. If you decide to give it a go, please let me know what you think.