Monday, June 25, 2007

rumpled, kind, bankrupt of honor, flushed with certainty

Steven plugged this Tobias Wolff collection and I picked it up via the Internets. The stories are marvelously economical, and though they often feature a banging surprise they are not formulaic. Often the banging suprise is of the sort Flannery O'Connor crafted, a kind of Zen koan delineating the moral confusion or hypocrisy of a central character.

Folks act often contrary to their own best interests, and even oftener they act contrary to the best interests of those they purport to love and adore. This does not mean necessarily that folks are corrupt or evil, but that they are confused and plagued by the complex vaguaries of the Universe. Sans some cosmic instruction manual, few can find the appropriate course of action without becoming mired in a tarpit of foolishness, or becoming at the least a bit unglued.

The Night in Question is no cosmic instruction manual, but Wolff's book elegantly bemoans the absence of such a volume.

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