Andrea Is Changing Her Name

13 10 2008

by Kevin Brockmeier is hands down the most moving short story I’ve read in recent memory. Not that others haven’t been more delightful, terrifying, artful, demanding–but none of them had me leaping from my warm sheets and cozy glow of my headboard lamp to make similar announcement before starting the day.

In the coming weeks I’ll surely come back to other stories more often, that speak more to where I happen to be at the moment, offer ways out of dead ends in my own fiction, provide clever structures or other pleasures practical, technical, or of the moment… but this story, I am confident, will abide.  For me. I may even become, briefly, afraid to read it (though it’s far from being a foreboding modernist mountain). I have a bad habit of letting long stretches of time slip by between sneaking so much as a peek at what most deeply moves me (related, I realize, to another one of Brockmeier’s stories in the same collection) be it book or movie. Then suddenly, I remember they exist, my venerated favorites; reading or seeing them again reconnects me to the river underrunning my life (how fresh the water’s scent, how like a forgotten song its gurgle, how strong and reassuring the dark braid of its current) and I wonder why I ever let so much time go by. But time’s passing, I find, is always unconscionable–life’s callous basis.

Hats off to Kevin Brockmeier! Hats, hats, hats off…

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