Saturday, December 08, 2007

The New Yorker: "Found Objects" by Jennifer Egan

Now this is a story. Sasha has been seeing a therapist because she knows she has a problem. She even knows subconsciously that it has something to do with the fact that her father ran off when she was six, although she won’t go there. She takes small things – a screwdriver, a wallet, bath salts – but realizes she has a problem when she sees the impact she’s having on a the person she steals from. The real kicker, though, is when she takes an inspirational message scrawled on a slip of paper from the wallet of a man she’s been on a date with.
“Sasha hesitated. She and Coz had talked at length about why she kept the stolen objects separate from the rest of her life: because using them would imply greed or self-interest, because leaving them untouched made it seem as if she might one day give them back, because piling them in a heap kept their power from leaking away.”
But the message “I believe in you” that she steals from the man’s wallet is something she DOES want to keep, whether because it could be a message from her father or because it implies a connection with someone, anyone, in cold-hearted New York City. And in the end she stays on the therapist’s couch because she knows she needs something; she just isn’t sure what. This is a good one.

December 10, 2007: “Found Objects” by Jennifer Egan


Myfanwy Collins said...

I love this story. It kicks ass. This one and the Antonya Nelson one from a few weeks ago are my two favorite stories of late.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this story a great deal --fascinating dilemma/character, great writing--but I must admit I was disappointed by the ending, which I thought just trailed off.


Mary Akers said...

For me, the genius of this story was how well the writer made me understand Sasha's desire to steal and what she got from it. So much so, that I felt guilty and complicit when the woman from the stall was frantic for her wallet.