300 short stories: story 295

story: “The Boy”

author: Joyce Carol Oates

year: 1988

where: the Ikea kitchen table

note: This story is one long sentence! No, wait, two sentences.

a line:  “I opened his pants and took hold of him but he was soft, breathing fast and shallow, was he afraid?…”

theme(s): Teacher student relationship, sex, desperation


300 short stories: story 285

story: “By the River”

author: Joyce Carol Oates

year: 1969

where: Abu Dhabi, Gate Tower I Gym

note: As I approach the 300 short story mark, I have been thinking of doing a top 15 list. Mentally, I have been traveling back to some of my favorite short stories I have read over the last two or three years. This is one of them.

a line:  “He came to her and touched her shoulder as if waking her, and they looked at each other, Helen so terrified by now that she was no longer afraid but only curious with the mute marble-like curiosity of a child, and her father stern and silent until a rush of hatred transformed his face into a mass of wrinkles, the skin mottled red and white.”

theme(s): Fathers and daughters, poverty, American Dream, humiliation

300 short stories: story 275

story: “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”

author: Joyce Carol Oates

year: 1966

where: Casa

note: Damon and I also watched Smooth Talk, the 1985 movie based on the short story. Much debate ensued.

a line:  “But all the boys fell back and dissolved into a single face that was not even a face but an idea, a feeling, mixed up with the urgent insistent pounding of the music and the humid night air of July.”

theme(s): Dating, Mothers and daughters, Sexuality, Vanity

100 days 100 short stories:: story 59

story: By the River

author: Joyce Carol Oates

year: 1969

where: above Canada

note: a lot of traveling

a line: “Why did her mind push her into the past so often these days, she only twenty-two (that was not old, not really) and going to begin a new life?”