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"Watching and Waiting"

I've quickly immersed myself in my great friend Ben Tanzer's latest story collection, After the Flood. (It's actually part of an omnibus called The New York Stories, which includes After the Flood and two earlier collections, Repetition Patterns and So Different Now. I've already read the first two, so for now I'm just reading Flood. I plan to read the whole thing, beginning to end, sometime next year.) The book is very good, and probably even better than the first two - the stories in all three are linked by the common locale (a fictionalized version of Ben's hometown of Binghamton, New York), but the latest is even tighter as it also revolves around the devastating storm and subsequent flooding that hit the town in 2011.

All of the stories so far have been strong, but I particularly like "Watching and Waiting" (first published at 3Elements Review, starting on page 11 here), which tells of a lonely, passive woman who has a man drift in and out of her life (arriving as a landscaper and, after a presumably quick marriage, departing with the flood), leaving her "like some sea captain's wife, healing, looking, and waiting for something to happen" and contemplating the rest of her days. I don't usually like second-person narration, but Ben uses it extremely well here. The story and book are well worth your time and, as Ben likes to say, just might change your life.

September 14, 2015 in Books | Permalink

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