Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"Mother of Sorrows" by Richard McCann

These linked stories, with their deeply imagined narrator, feel more like a memoir than fiction. The characters and their tragedies are so deeply felt it's almost a relief that what McCann has written in these stories is indeed fiction.

But instead of talking about the stories, I want to let them speak for themselves. Here's an excerpt from "My Brother in the Basement," in which the narrator talks about his dead brother. (The last paragraph refers to their shared secret language.):

Counting forward from the night I left him at Dolly's, my brother had only nine more years to live.

As always, there were still a few key facts the future had yet to disclose.

For instance, the fact that I would find myself sitting here one day without him, as I am now, attempting to remember the same things I'd once urged myself to forget. Or the fact that I would want to tell someone that a long time ago, when we were children, our mother dressed us as twins.

That I sometimes crawled into his upper bunk at night to fall asleep beside him. That "peanut butter" meant "I'm sorry." That "applesauce" meant "Laugh!"


Renee Thompson said...

Happy New Year to you, too, Michelle. Hope 2009 is YOUR year (and maybe mine too)! xxx Renee

Michelle Panik said...

Hear, hear!