July 2014 favorites

july2014

July 2014

The July stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

1.       ‘Hot Ice’ by Stuart Dybek
2.       ‘The Babysitter’ by Robert Coover
3.       ‘Jeeves And The Impending Doom’ by P.G. Wodehouse
4.       ‘A Solo Song: For Doc’ by James Alan McPherson
5.       ‘City Boy’ by Leonard Michaels
6.       ‘You’re Ugly, Too’ by Lorrie Moore
7.       ‘The Flats Road’ by Alice Munro
8.       ‘Greasy Lake’ by T. Coraghessan Boyle
9.       ‘Train’ by Joy Williams
10.     ‘Testimony Of Pilot’ by Barry Hannah
11.     ‘The Joy Luck Club’ by Amy Tan
12.    ‘Liars In Love’ by Richard Yates
13.     ‘How To Date A Brown Girl (Black Girl, White Girl, Or Halfie)’ by Junot Diaz
14.    ‘A Poetics For Bullies’ by Stanley Elkin
15.     ‘Greenwich Time’ by Ann Beattie
16.     ‘Pretty Ice’ by Mary Robison
17.     ‘Lechery’ by Jayne Anne Phillips
18.     ‘Here Come The Maples’ by John Updike
19.     ‘Territory’ by David Leavitt
20.     ‘Bridging’ by Max Apple
21.     ‘The Circling Hand’ by Jamaica Kincaid
22.     ‘Are These Actual Miles?’ by Raymond Carver
23.     ‘The Other Wife’ by Colette
24.     ‘A.V. Laider’ by Max Beerbohm
25.     ‘White Rat’ by Gayl Jones
26.     ‘Search Through The Streets Of The City’ by Irwin Shaw
27.     ‘The Dead Man’ by Horacio Quiroga
28.     ‘A Life In The Day Of A Writer’ by Tess Slesinger
29.     ‘In The Heart Of The Heart Of The Country’ by William Gass
30.     ‘The Indian Uprising’ by Donald Barthelme
31.     ‘The Facts Of Life’ by Somerset Maugham

‘Liars In Love’ by Richard Yates

Yates, Richard 1982

Liars In Love by Richard Yates, 1981

The magic trick:

A great title

I love the title of this story. It’s catchy and memorable like a great pop song title. It’s also instructive as to what Yates is saying in the story.

Christine lies. We see that. Warren is very obviously concerned about her lies. We don’t any help in seeing that. With the title’s guidance, though, the reader is prompted to look further and find the lies in the other characters’ actions as well. Warren and Carol lie to their daughter, to Carol’s aunt Judith. Warren lies to Christine about his feelings and intentions. Much of the surface happiness in Grace and Alfred’s apartment is based on lies, half-truths, and hidden feelings. Everyone lies.

Tellingly, when the characters in the story communicate honestly, things play out far better than they anticipated. Yates grants them happy endings only when they stop lying. The theme permeates damn near every sentence of the story, and the title keeps the reader’s focus on this idea. And that’s quite a trick on Yates’s part.

The selection:

“Know what I like most about you, Warren?” she asked very late in their third or fourth night together. “Know what I really love about you? It’s that I feel I can trust you. All my life, that’s all I ever wanted: somebody to trust. And you see I keep making mistakes and making mistakes because I trust people who turn out to be – “

“Shh, shh,” he said, “it’s OK, baby. Let’s just sleep now.”