Monday, December 19, 2016

In sunlight or in Shadow

Short stories seemed like a good option for these busy, pre-Christmas days.  What I'm struggling with is the contrast between the holly-jolly music, sights and sounds of the season, and the utterly bleak selections in this book.  

It's not surprising that Hopper inspired stories would be filled with glimpses into lives of the alone, the sad, and those who keep secrets cloaked so tightly they suffocate the keeper.  Let me explain.  Lawrence Block chose a number of Hopper paintings that raise questions.  How did the woman in the picture get to this place?  What are the two people on the porch discussing?  Why is she so sad - what happened, what might happen?  He then invited prominent writers to tell stories that answer those and other questions.

"Girlie show" is a dicey little number that takes us to the dark dressing room of a seedy "gentleman's club."  We also meet a chilly woman with less than a gentlemanly husband.  A few turns lead cleanly to the climax, and a not unexpected ending.

In fact, the second and third stories were predictable as well. but the noir storytelling style drew me in and kept me reading.  I have a sort of "rear window" perspective here.  None of these stories give me enough to like or dislike the character and so I feel like a peeper - looking in on the lives of people I wonder about but do not know.  

Looking forward to the rest of the stories.

Sorry. gotta wrap this up...lots of people doing last minute shopping.