Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Something that Happened – Jayne Anne Phillips

Jayne Anne Phillips Born July 1952

With this selection, I feel that JCO has offered the reader a glimpse into the future of American literature. Phillips had not reached her 30th birthday on publication of her short in BASS. Quite an honor.

The subject matter she touches on in her story, on refection, is a perfect slice of American society at the end of the 70’s. Divorce, generational gaps, feminism, health and mental issues, relationships between siblings and relationships between parents and their children...both appropriate and what is perceived by a character as inappropriate.

I reflected back once again to the late 1970s and my position in this world during that time. Once again, I think my family was lucky in some senses considering what some other families could have been going through behind the doors of their households. Sure we had divorce, but really, that was the worst thing that happened. There could have been a whole house of horrors that could have visited us.

Phillips is still writing – good books. Books that make lists – good lists. She teaches as well. And, she has found herself writing interesting pieces for interesting times, pieces that cause readers to question her motivation and direction...but, that is the duty of an artist and a writer. Isn’t it? I’m happy to have run into her so early in this journey, and I suspect that I will find her once again down the road in my reading.

Score – 8 out of 10.

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