Sunday, August 05, 2007

The New Yorker: "Wasps" by A. L. Kennedy

Although I can picture the family in this story and Kennedy’s language is lyrical and fluid, ultimately I don’t find anything terribly interesting here other than the metaphor of the dead wasps, the wasps that can’t possibly get into the house through the closed window but somehow manage it all the same. The couple’s marriage is lifeless as well, and while Kennedy shows this clearly, it isn’t very interesting. Ray, the husband, is thoughtless, not only toward his wife but also toward his children, Shawn and Jimbo. Ray leaves for business and leaves and leaves and the reader senses, and eventually the wife concludes, that one day Ray won’t come back. And there doesn’t seem to be much else going on. All in all it’s a bit too domestic, even for The New Yorker.

July 30, 2007: “Wasps” by A. L. Kennedy


Vince S said...

this is the most dreadful piece of fiction I have seen in the New Yorker and I have read that magazine for over 10 years. There is something really wrong when you finish a story and your pissed off.
Did you see the part where the author says love = pain. Is this supposed to be some kind of hard-won wisdom that he is giving the reader? Some kind of bonus?
The outlook of this story is so pessimistic, so cynical, so baleful that it deserved to be used as toilet paper.
I'm sure it won't do any good but am definitely complaining to the New Yorker; their fiction used to be an excellent feature of the magazine. Now's it's the worst part.
by the way, I have a blog as well
sorry if I have written in a rude fashion.

Clifford Garstang said...

Heh. No apologies necessary. I've been disappointed with many of this year's stories, also, and I didn't care for this one (although I don't think it's the worst). It is hard to understand what they editors are thinking -- there is so much good short fiction out there, and I know people still submit stuff to TNY. It gives some credence to the suggestion that publishing the best stories isn't the prime goal for the magazine.