‘Watching Mysteries With My Mother’ by Ben Marcus

Watching Mysteries With My Mother by Ben Marcus, 2012

The magic trick:

Never letting the story escape the narrator’s head

Nothing happens in this story. Literally nothing. There is no narrative. The entire story exists in the narrator’s head. It’s all thoughts, flashbacks, and hypotheticals. There is never one single bit of narrative present tense. And that’s quite a trick on Marcus’s part. 

The selection:

I am helpless to wonder if there is someone in the world who would deserve it if I died. If, for instance, a person’s death occurs as a punitive measure to some other person, as my mother’s death, should it occur today, would certainly seem to me, then whose comeuppance is it when I die? Is there, for each of us, a culprit who will have had it coming when we go?

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