A little more Story Prize anthology.

89. “Tenth of December,” George Saunders, 2013.
It always takes me a little bit to get into the rhythm of a George Saunders story. There tends to be a little stream-of-consciousness that is hard to follow at first. In this story it takes the form of a boy’s daydreams about magical creatures that live in his neighborhood and about a girl in his class; it’s all a bit disorienting at first. But this turns out to be a very lovely and sweet story about a very sick middle-aged man deciding whether it’s time to die, and once I warmed to the structures of it, the story drew me right in.

90. “Something Amazing,” Elizabeth McCracken, 2014.
This is a story about grief, and while bits of it are lovely, overall I found it frustrating. The narrative is rather punctuated with impressionist sections, second-person diversions (in which “you” becomes the grieving mother). It’s a kind of literary writing that makes me feel a little stupid, because I know I should find it beautiful but it really just slides in one ear and out the other. It’s not that it feels overly writerly, though it would if I tried to do it, and maybe it does, I’m not sure. It just doesn’t seem necessary. I really like the narrative here and would rather see it told more plainly, I guess, so I don’t feel like I have to read paragraphs over again just to understand what they are talking about. That’s a matter of style, I suppose.

90/100 read, 38/50 from the last five years.

I think for next year’s thread, I will set my recent-story cutoff to the last ten years. Time goes very quickly for me, and it’s hard to comprehend why I wouldn’t count a 2014 story as a “recent” story. I know literary tastes change and all that, but do they really change so quickly?