Women and Men discussion

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message 1: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (last edited Sep 28, 2012 10:04AM) (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Discuss.

Originally published in The New Yorker (12/22/1980) and reprinted in The Best American Short Stories: 1981 and in Prize Stories 1982: The O. Henry Awards (2nd place).


message 2: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments 'the event itself will be in question, come and gone along the greater event of their life together, which is also in question'.

This chapter is one of those memorable events which haunts a reader who, having moved further down and through the book has images and fragments returning to memory but being unable to locate where and when and what these fragments are and to whom (where?) they belong but what do they have to do with James Mayn or Grace Kimball so "No" that short narrative of theft, of terror, of dessert just couldn't be part of W&M but it is, this fragment like the upside-down red car with its wheels still (unaccountably) spinning, spinning yet and try to locate this little episode we recall and whose image is clear and sharp but where? does it belong I just can't locate it.


message 3: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 497 comments It belongs to the VOID short stories. The main event happens AFTER the robber left, on the emotional residue left upon all the people. This reflects how the disappearance (VOID) of Mayn's mother left the most impression on his mind. In a way, even when she was there, her emotional aloofness is also a void.


message 4: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Jonathan wrote: "And in the ebook, this BREATHER has paragraph breaks. My 1st edition does not at all... Nathan: does yours? "

You mean ALL of The H-I of NY, the A-H, And The Unknown Aborter has no paragraph breaks? Yes, the second printing does have paragraphs.


message 5: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Jonathan wrote: "Dammit, I meant uh, not paragraph breaks. I meant blank lines, gaps, breaking the thing into sections, like in say, most of the other breathers."

No. It's all one section without breaks. I think there was only one such break in Foley (breather-esque, capped title). I don't believe we have anyone with a Dalkey pb to compare.


message 6: by George (new)

George | 21 comments I wonder what the significance of the avocado is in this section. It is mentioned several times. I liked the imagery of it turning into a tree, but not sure what the meaning behind it is.


message 7: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Jonathan's deleted comments ::

#2-----
Ann comes home late, after work and shopping, to her son Davey. Ann and Davey's father are no longer together. Davey asks if they can go out to dinner, as his mother is about to say the same thing. They go to a French restaurant. As their meal is coming to a close and they wait for their desert, a youth in blue jeans and a leather jacket that Ann says right away "didn't come here to eat" holds up the restaurant, sending the customers into the back as he cleans out the register. Nobody is hurt, but the restaurant echoes with terror as the customers slowly clear out, trying to make sense of what just happened. 'the event itself will be in question, come and gone along the greater event of their life together, which is also in question'. Did the leather jacketed youth have a gun? Knowing this first hand depends on your vantage point. What exact words did the holdup youth use to get everyone back and into the bathroom or are the words lost forever, devoured by fear? Though the evening is 'divided between them' even when they are together, the evening still brings them closer, as such events tend to do. Ann hears her son speak to his father on the phone. She tells Davey he no longer needs to call his father collect.


#5---
To complicate one's W&M memories even further, most, probably all of these small chapters have homologies somewhere else in the text. Case in point: (view spoiler)

By the way, I used the search function of the unofficial ebook to find this passage. And in the ebook, this BREATHER has paragraph breaks. My 1st edition does not at all... Nathan: does yours?


#7---
Dammit, I meant uh, not paragraph breaks. I meant blank lines, gaps, breaking the thing into sections, like in say, most of the other breathers. Like on say p.568. The ebook is weird. It's 1619 pages...


#9---
If only I could afford the Dalkey and the Ultramarine... Well, I would probably buy Ancient History and Hind's Kidnap first.


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