Thursday, October 3, 2013


 Since Saturday, I’ve been devouring Alice Mattison’s IN CASE WE’RE SEPARATED (William Morrow 2005). The last collected story I finished is THE BAD JEW, one of those reach down your throat, grab your gut and punch it kind of epiphany stories. It felt amazing, that punch to the gut. Here is a passage:

I kissed him on the lips. Across the street, the house door was still open. I wanted to see someone come and close it. Waiting, in my mind I found a rough map of Greater Boston, with house doors open here and there Beyond Boston, all through New England, some people opened a door for Elijah. It was an intrinsically good act, I decided, to open a door, now and then, to Elijah. “Everywhere are Jewish people,” my grandmother used to say. In New York and New Jersey – my mind moved down the coast, omitting and then restoring Long Island- more open doors. If Elijah or anyone else cared to enter, that was temporarily possible. Eric, who stood behind me, flung an arm over my shoulder and across my body, so his elbow collided with my breast and his hand grasped my arm. “Come on,” he said, turning me around. We lingered a moment longer, while the door still stood open to the cold spring air, then climbed the stairs to the noisy dining room, where illicit cake had been served. Eric and I sat down to eat cake and praise God some more – God who could move the ocean aside, but mostly didn’t. (122-3)

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