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