Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Magnanimous Gesture

A short story by Adelaide B. Shaw
Reviewed by Susanne MacDougall

The main character, Larry Chenkowsky, eeks out a living on his small, remote avocado grove, painting his dusty, dry California vegetation for greeting cards and calendars. He lives secluded and uninterrupted until the police arrive one morning with grim news about Larry’s father: murdered along with his housekeeper. Larry finds himself reflecting on the complexities of the relationship with his deceased father.

We live in a time where the closest relationship is strangely inhibited by physical distance. Even as we have more tools than ever to connect, we often choose to be out-of-touch. We may as well be living alone in a remote place and time. Our lives separated not just by distance, but time as well. But when death comes knocking all the remote parts rush to the forefront of our mind, forcing us, just as it forces Larry, to relive those difficult family memories and justify past actions. Larry discovers that his old and remote life still holds enormous, emotional sway and ultimately drives a final magnanimous gesture and makes this story a better than average read.

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