Sunday, March 10, 2013

Honeydew, Edith Pearlman #33

Honeydew
Edith Pearlman
From Best American Short Stories, 2012
Originally appeared in Orion
#33 in the I read and take brief notes on 300 short stories series

A private day school and a forbidden ravine and a centruy-old suicide get mentioned in the first paragraph.

The headmistress, Alice, is perturbed by a superb but anorexic student named Emily; her anger is such that we are told that "this tall bundle of a twigs that called itself a girl--Alice's palms ached to spank her." Alice meets with parents; the father is a detached physician who scolds Alice and the wife: "Emily must find her own way to continue to live," which the narrator tells us is "useful and true."

Alice is pregnant by Emily's father, the physician. He will not leave his wife.

Manna is described as being excrement, called by nomads "honeydew." Emily is fascinated by this concept.

The biological lives of insects is the thread that holds the story together. It's surreal and satirical.


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