Tuesday, May 17, 2011

{read: short stories} Boys and Girls Like You and Me: Stories by Aryn Kyle

I loved the first two stories and began to think that perhaps my idea of myself as someone who doesn't like short stories was wrong. The third story was okay, and then it went downhill from there except for the final paragraph of the final story (Boys and Girls Like You and Me). By this time I was reading impatiently, ready to be done with the book. And then, at the end of a story about loneliness and bad choices and sadness and women who let men control too much of their lives, a teenage Goth girl begs the woman in the apartment upstairs (a woman who is having an affair with a married man, who drinks too much, and who writes papers for a cheater website), to give her a ride to the regional music festival across town, where she is supposed to perform in front of a judge. The woman agrees and is surprised by how beautifully the girl plays the violin. And there was a passage of beauty and hope that I read, surprised, and then read again. The final paragraph was this (the woman talking to the teenager about when she played the violin):

And this, this is the part I want you to know: That moment lives in my head, a thing with breath and blood. A present tense. An always--that sudden blossoming of grace and beauty and competence, all of it so unexpected, all of it so undeserved, and the feeling or knowledge or faith that somehow, someday, everything was going to be all right. (p. 224-225)

For me, that made it worth finishing the book. I'd read another novel by Aryn Kyle, but not another book of short stories. I read this one because I loved her first novel, The God of Animals, which I would highly recommend.

Boys and Girls Like You and Me: Stories by Aryn Kyle (Scribner, 2010)
My rating: 2. 5 stars

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