Monday, June 15, 2009

Leisurely summer reading: Child's Play

Summer Reading: Child's Play
Reading an Alice Munro story in Vilas Park along the shore of Lake Wingra. The story, the mandatory annual Munro appearance in Best American Short Stories 2008, concerns something that happened in another lake a long time ago and its aftermath. "This is a very specific story about an almost playful, ruthless, irresistible crime committed by children, and what they do about it as a moral sense develops and they have to carry it through life," writes Munro in the contributors' notes. (This story also appeared in Best American Mystery Stories 2008, although a number of Amazon reviewers complained that many, including Munro's, weren't really mysteries.)

2 comments:

Bud Diablo, Best American Blog Comments 2009 said...

Does the photo represent the amount of text you actually read? I hope not, but suspect so.

However, if you can confirm my hopes rather than my suspicions, please do me a favor: Post a spoiler. "Child's Play" has been blogged to death, so there is no dearth of reviews, or even extended quotations. However, every commentator is -oh-so-careful not to reveal the ending.

I gather that the protagonists may have murdered a disabled person as children. Kindly let me know one way or the other. I realize Munro is a master of the creepy tale--but I don't like creepy, disturbing content. It gives me the creeps, almost as much as the Fox News site.

This post has inspired an idea. Why don't you make book and movie spoilers a regular feature of Letter from Here? That would get the old hit box whirring again, and stimulate many outraged comments, which in turn will lead to paid advertising. I am even willing to contribute some spoilers gratis.

Spoiler Alert! said...

I just finished reading THE BIG CLOCK, the classic noir novel by Kenneth Fearing. In it, George Stroud, the editor of a "true crime" magazine for a publishing empire resembling Time Inc, is, through an odd set of circumstances, assigned to identify and locate a man who is, in fact, himself.

The clever premise is well developed, and I recommend the book highly despite its rather lame ending. The search party Stroud organizes does ventually close in on him. He takes refuge in the office of Earl Janoth, the publisher. Janoth, about to have control of the empire wrested from him, jumps out a window to his death, obviating the need for Stropud to be located. End of story. The film version is somewhat different, in that--wait, I don't want to spoil it.