instructions for a funeral
“Fistfight, Sacramento, August 1950″: two young men have a brief, savage confrontation, which for one of them leads, quietly and with small-town Springsteen stylings, to marriage with the girl who works in the drugstore. The newlyweds go on to mythologise the fight as the inciting incident of their relationship: “It was the secret of their future destiny. That’s what they liked to believe. That’s what they continued to believe for the rest of their lives.” The fight is observed hot, close up and in detail, the couple’s subsequent years from an increasing distance that makes the story somehow heartbreaking. Read the rest of my review of David Means’ new collection, Instructions for a Funeral, in the Guardian today.
One of his short stories also features in my Personal Anthology, alongside “The Same Dog” by Robert Aickman, Maeve Brennan’s “I See You, Bianca” and nine others, some you wouldn’t have predicted. Jonathan Gibbs’ project collects sharply-written recommendations by the dozen, from some very talented people. It’s a resource.