For those of you who find it hard to set time aside to read, but still love the pull of a good novel, I introduce to you Short Story Sundays! Basically, I will review a short story or even an essay that I loved each Sunday (most of them will be recommendations) instead of a full length novel or play that you can easily pick up, read, and digest in the span of an hour.
This week’s short story is Killings by Andre Dubus, and it is from a genre I rarely read and probably rarely will talk about, and that’s thriller. If you enjoy this work, I would recommend that you read other works by Dubus who is simply put, a genius.
SUMMARY: Matt Fowler is a husband and father who is grieving the loss of his son. His son, Frank, was murdered by Richard, who was the ex-husband of the girl that Frank was involved with. Matt cannot stand to see that Richard is out and about in town while his wife and he are in tremendous pain. And so, Matt sets out on a mission and enlists a buddy of his to seek revenge on Richard. I won’t say what it is Matt does, but the title probably gives you a good enough idea of what happens.
REVIEW: Okay so even though the title is pretty explicit, I was still taken aback by the events of the story, especially those at the end. Why? Because Dubus does an excellent job of humanizing Matt, of making the reader feel for his grief, his anger, and his overall sense of dissatisfaction. Dubus makes one fall in love with Matt’s backstory, and even can provoke some readers to feel that Matt was justified in his actions. And that is the mastery of fiction writing at its best: when readers find themselves sympathizing with those who commit heinous acts and are horrified when they realize what a strange place that is to be in too late. So even though the events of the story seem almost inevitable, it comes as a surprise just because Matt is so much like you or me.
RATING: 5/5 stars; if you are a fan of thrillers, I would especially recommend this to you.