I quit a book last week. I don’t normally do this, but I couldn’t bring myself to slog through one more miserable page of Chekhov’s short fiction. He seems to hate everyone. I felt better about quitting when I discovered that Hemingway called him an “amateur.” (Thanks, Wikipedia!) In any case, I have little energy for the sort of misanthropic cynicism that betrays how few people the author knows and loves deeply.
This might be why, as a reader, I was drawn to the three stories in this month’s Bull & Cross: the authors deliver excellent stories that reveal a keen regard for humanity, a recognition of our foibles and weaknesses that is both open-eyed and sympathetic.
Darren Rabinowitz leads us off with the wonderful “Ripple.” I love the narrator’s voice, the careful unpacking of the story, and the subtle conclusion. I’m also very proud that B&C could be the first to publish one of Darren’s stories, and I suspect he’s got many more to share.
Next up, another great story by Steve Carr. His “Lonesome Prairie” has a slow-burn start and steadily ratchets up the tension to a perfect ending. If you’ll recall, B&C had the privilege of publishing one of his stories back in May. This month’s story is, if you can believe it, even better.
And finally, Julia Rust tells us “What’s In a Name.” I wanted this story as soon as I read it, and I’m glad to share it with you. If you have kids, you’ll find it does a good job of capturing the pain and joy involved.
So, in summary: don’t read Chekhov. Read Rabinowitz, Carr, and Rust instead.
Daniel R. Julian