Friday, April 14, 2006

Extra Credit for Marmots

A brief entry. Today I read "Rear View," a story by Antonya Nelson in the Fall 2003 issue of Ploughshares. Antonya Nelson can flat-out write, something I've only discovered recently (and she has the awards to prove it; just check out the cover of her latest collection, Some Fun). This story is an engaging, entertaining narrative, as is "Palisades" (Fall 1999), also on-line at Ploughshares.

Both are good reads, and that's all I really want to say; however, I can't mention "Rear View" without making a couple of quick comments. First, "Rear View" is very similar in structure to "A Walk in Winter" by Robert Boswell (see Are You Dead, Deer?); i.e., it's written backwards.

Antonya Nelson just happens to be married to Robert Boswell.

Second, and you might want to sit down for this, "Rear View" includes a scene where an animal is hit by a car and the driver reluctantly leaves said animal to die. Yes, the Dead Animal Trope raises its head from the asphalt once again. However, as the title of this entry implies, the animal in question is not a deer, or a dog, or a goat, or a horse; it's a marmot. So, Ms. Nelson, extra credit for originality.