July 25, 2011: “Matinée” by Robert Coover
This story seems typical of Robert Coover. I loved his story “Going for a Beer” from earlier this year (discussed here). And I enjoyed this one, too, though not quite as much. It’s a convoluted piece that keeps turning in on itself, a Möbius strip of a story with no beginning and no end. It’s about old movies, but it’s also about husbands and wives who are dissatisfied and looking for . . . something. On the other hand, it’s about movies (stories, lives) that sometimes break. (For more on the movie motif, see Deborah Treisman's interview with Coover.) But we leave before the end anyway because we know what’s going to happen, because we’ve seen this movie before.
A woman leaves the theater with a man she’s just met, except that’s in the movie that another couple has just watched, except the couple is at a bar and she’s a prostitute who is also a housewife, who spends her time in the theater watching matinees, and then she leaves with a man she’s just met . . .
If I had unlimited time I might try to unwind the story, but I’m not sure that would add to my enjoyment of it. Coover’s pretty cool.