‘Housewife’ by Amy Hempel

Housewife by Amy Hempel, 1997

The magic trick:

Describing an extraordinary situation in a very ordinary manner

Don’t blink, you might miss this week on SSMT. We’ll be looking at flash fiction. I can’t say it’s my favorite, or even something I like. But I’m gonna try to stay open to the concept this week, I promise.

I have to admit, today’s Amy Hempel story does not get us off to a good start. In fact, I kind of hate it. I guess it’s trying to be funny? I’m not sure. Or the protagonist thinks she’s being funny.

We can certainly give the story credit for saying something unexpected in a very matter-of-fact way. And that’s quite a trick on Hempel’s part.

The selection:

She would always sleep with her husband and with another man in the course of the same day, and then the rest of the day, for whatever was left to her that day, she would exploit by incanting, “French film, French film.”


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