Monday, June 22, 2009

Some things I've been reading

I just got the new Keyhole and read the story by Michael Jauchen called "Our Electric Borders." It's about the Mexico/US border, but the Interesting Reader lodges the meaning more squarely on the borders between people, or even between the short sections that comprise the telling.

There's a resolute morality in Sarah, the main girl gives freelance psychology a shot before settling for border patrolling. Then there's the narrator, who is Sarah's husband or boyfriend, and he seems emotionally neutral but not detached. I mean, like not detached in a Jake Barnes way but in an independent way that does more to outline Sarah than himself.

The sections of the story are connected, but not in a linear or chronological way, more like the firing synapses of a good conversationalist. You know how a smart person can start at one point in a conversation and move back and forth and tangentially through it? That's kind of how this story goes, and this story goes to show the value of such a technique in writing.

Jauchen puts some pretty good jokes in "Our Electric Borders," too. Like, when they leave Texas for LA, "everything started costing twice as much. Even coffee or getting a key made or a three-pack of underwear."

It could be that's just good writing and not a joke. One actual joke is when Sarah's brain-weary grandmother calls and says, "Eggshells, what a waste!"

Someone could argue with me about the narrator's emotional neutrality. It could be that he is very deeply and wildly emotional. The story can support both of our opinions, I think.

Does Sarah die? Did she die? It doesn't say. I don't think she does, but I kind of felt that she does. I felt that because of the way the guy reflects so long on his first kiss at the end.

If you read that story and have an opinion, I welcome your comments. I'm interested in a reading group thing hosted by Blogger comments.

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