When Stories Have an Infinite Shelf Life

Chronicling "ordinary" lives in an extraordinary way

Magazines typically review books only during the month of the publication, but we all know that a good book lingers. Case in point: Last month I went to a reading and discovered an author, and book, I’d never heard of. Kate Blackwell’s stunning debut story collection (published by Southern Methodist University Press) is titled    You Won’t Remember This—but if you read it, you most certainly will remember it. While all of the stories, which chronicle the lives of "ordinary" men and women in the South, are absorbing, the opening piece, "My First Wedding," is a knockout. In it, a woman now in midlife remembers the long-ago wedding of her late aunt, a reckoning in which Blackwell references Proust’s In Search of Lost Time and evokes Joyce’s The Dead (all with a Southern spin!). Yet
Blackwell is wholly original, and you needn’t have read her literary predecessors in order to be deeply moved.

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