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From: "Alice Turner" <al@interport.net>
Subject: (urth) Suzanne
Date: Sat, 9 May 1998 18:17:07 

>I hate to pour cold water on your theories, especially since this story
>has always mystified me [snip] I think "loosely grouped" means
>only that the girls are posed as if in the middle of cooking, rather than
>lined up in rows as is usual.
>I really would like an explanation for this story.  The best I've been
>able to do is: if Suzanne's daughter had really been as strikingly
>beautiful as the story's next-to-last paragraph describes, then the
>narrator would certainly have noticed Suzanne.  Ergo, the daughter is
>really not so remarkable, and the flowery prose of the description
>reflects the sentimentality of a lonely middle-aged man.  But if that's
>all there is to it, it's not much of a story.  And the way Wolfe writes
>it, it feels to me that there should be some greater payoff.

I tend to go along with Adam's explanation here, but I don't agree that it
diminishes the story. I think there is something powerful and poignant about
a middle-aged man's shock of realization that his entire life could have
been entirely different, had it not been for the coincidences of fate. I
think you're all looking too hard for a fantasy element. The godfather of
this story is Proust (and for once that is proven, not conjectural), not
Kafka or Borges. The flavor of regret is bittersweet.


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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