Tired of scrolling through Netflix Searching for something to watch
"The Souvenir Museum," by Elizabeth McCracken (Ecco)
If you are tired of trying to select something to see on among the own half a dozen streaming solutions, maybe it's time to see a short story instead. They may just be the ideal antidote to binge watching.
Short stories generally need a little more concentration compared to the slow build and wider framework of a novel. Thankfully, McCracken is proficient at packing a lot of meaning to a few lines. "She understood her maternal love would be edged with meanness, in order to matter: sometimes you needed a blade to get results," writes McCracken at"A Walk-Through Human Heart" as a mom contemplates purchasing her pregnant girl a mechanical doll which chews and excretes real food. Or back to this origin story starring Sadie and Jack ("Two Sad Clowns"):"That was the thing about being in love: you were permitted to hate things," writes McCracken since the few banters soon after meeting.
The classic narrative in the group is a real gem, introducing readers to Joanna and her pre-teen son, Leo, on vacation in Denmark. Joanna tells her son the function of the trip is to see"Legoland," however, it ends up Leo's absentee dad lives there as well. It is against that background McCracken provides us amazing insights such as these, as Joanna listens to Leo disabuse her of the notion that Viking helmets had horns:"For a year and a halfbefore Leo might read but after he'd begun to talk, Joanna had understood everything in his mind, thoughts and terrors, passions and facts. ... He had ideas all the time that she hadn't put in his head, which she knew was the point of having children but ruined her."
McCracken has given a beautiful collection of stories loosely tied together by one motif -- that the bonds of family that break and heal as lives are led.