Intertextuality by Mary Gordon, 1995
The magic trick:
Demonstrating the beautiful way memories can tie our lives together
Spectacularly fantastic story today.
Essentially what we have is our author – or at least our narrator – reading Proust one day and being reminded of a very specific memory from her childhood about her grandmother.
What’s that connection going to mean to the reader? Almost nothing.
So the magic lies in the narrator’s ability to quickly take us through her grandmother’s life, her own childhood, and even into an imagined hypothetical scene – all making us feel the way memory ties our lives together in the most remarkable ways.
And that’s quite a trick on Gordon’s part.
What were they all, any of them, feeling? This was the sort of question no one in my family would ask. Feelings were for others: the weak, the idle. We were people who got on with things.
But the new house weakened my grandmother. It turned her old.
Why could none of her children have foreseen this?
Why was I the only one who noticed that she didn’t like the new house, that it had not been a good thing to her, it had done her harm?
But perhaps I wasn’t the only one who noticed. Perhaps other people noticed as well. I’ll never know, because it’s not the sort of thing any of us would have talked about.
As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.
Subscribe to the Short Story Magic Tricks Monthly Newsletter to get the latest short story news, contests and fun.