Monday, July 18, 2016

Reader's Diary #1342- Billie Livingston: Give Yourself Nightmares

In Billie Livingston's "Give Yourself Nightmares" a story of a woman named Nora being concerned that her husband is becoming dangerously obsessed with cannibalism and violent pornography is contrasted brilliantly with a domestic tale of a mouse infestation that a landlord won't take seriously.

Grounding the sensational with such a specific and ordinary problem was a stroke of genius. Immediately the first over-the-top story seems more plausible while the second story gets lent an air of metaphor. There's also hint of a theme in the whole piece about the importance of mental health and counseling for police officers (and perhaps their families). Finally, all of this combined with the unresolved ending, and the result is a perfect short story. Loved it.

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