Monday, August 10, 2009

The Return of Service – Jonathan Baumbach

Jonathan Baumbach – 1933 –


This was my first reaction to discovering a little bit more about Baumbach through my research.

First, his photo. Check that dude out. Just looks like an author.

Next, his work outside of writing. Co-founder, 1974, co-director, 1974-78, and currently member of the Board of Directors, Fiction Collective.

Instructor, Stanford University, 1958-60; instructor, 1961-62, and assistant professor, 1962-64, Ohio State University, Columbus; assistant professor, New York University, 1964-66; associate professor, 1966-70, 1971-72, and since 1972 professor of English, Brooklyn College, City University of New York. Visiting professor, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, 1970-71; University of Washington, Seattle, 1978-79, 1985-86; Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, 1994.

Woah! And...he married his fourth wife in 2004. Do the math from his birthday, and you’ll see he’s still kick’in it! -Nice-

The story – I remember reading this and learning that it was another short story with tennis in it, I came into it feeling a little –blah-.

Pleasantly though, I really enjoyed this short. It’s simply a tennis match between a father an son. Well, not simply. Of course, the author just uses this to show the relationship between the two...and the relationship they have within themselves to their own selves. As a literate person, I don’t think we would expect that an author would just write a simple story about a tennis game. It seems a bit predictable that he would lay the “relationship” theme underneath it all. He does though and he accomplishes it well. I think we can all see a bit of the relationship we have with our parents in this story. Wonderful last sentence.

“ Waiting for the ball’s arrival – it is on the way, it has not yet reached me – I concede nothing. “

And here is a nice quote by Baumbach

"We are trained to think that personal matters are less important than the global, but in fact the world tends to be too much with us and only of the moment. The personal, which is where we begin and end, is about everything."

Score 9 out of 10

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