Sunday, September 20, 2009

"Winter Husband," by Jean Thompson

It’s winter where the snow and ice linger for months. I know the feelling. I’ve lived there and spent many a day on my backside because the sidewalks are perpetually covered in ice. Jerry’s crumbling marriage is captured in the image of “sparrows energetically going at a space of exposed dirt.” He tries to move beyond an affair that both his wife and kids know about, he offers to get groceries for his wife who’d rather build a dollhouse than leave her house, and he attempts to engage with his teenage son while shoveling driveway snow. In Jean Thompson fashion, the reader experiences a range of deeply felt emotions from despair, contempt, sadness, love and fulfillment. The story moves effortlessly between past and present, and the ending offers a moment of grace for this despondent character. For a glimpse at middle America, read it here in Five Chapters.

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