Posts Tagged ‘psychological realism’

Bonnie Jo Campbell and the Strategy of Negation

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

I keep returning to Bonnie Jo Campbell’s story “The Solutions to Ben’s Problem,” which was first published in The Diagram, and was subsequently reprinted in her collection American Salvage as “The Solutions to Brian’s Problem.”¬†(American Salvage was originally published by tiny Wayne State University Press, and then republished by Norton after the book became an unlikely but well-chosen¬†National Book Award finalist.)

“The Solutions to Ben’s Problem” is structured unlike any other story I’ve read. The problem, which is never directly articulated, is that Ben’s wife Connie is a meth addict who can’t moderate her increasingly dangerous behavior. To make matters worse, (more…)

I Like It When Thom Jones’s First Person Narrators Break Into Essay in the Middle of a Short Story

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Thirteen pages into “The Pugilist at Rest,” which is a twenty-three page story, which has up till now told a Vietnam War story, the first person narrator goes to white space, then returns with this:

“Theogenes was the greatest of gladiators. He was a boxer who served under the patronage of a cruel nobleman, a prince who took great delight in bloody spectacles. Although this was several hundred years before the times of those most enlightened of men Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, and well after the Minoans of Crete, it still remains a high point in the history of Western civilization and culture. It was the approximate time of Homer, the greatest poet who ever lived. Then, as now, violence, suffering, and the cheapness of life were the rule.” (more…)