Sunday, October 26, 2008


"I've often wondered what kind of first impression I make. I assume that I initially evoke a measure of intrigue before people get to understand me and become repulsed."

—page 162, Like You'd Understand, Anyway by Jim Shepard, from the short story "Eros 7"

You wouldn't. Understand, that is.

Wait. You probably would.

Whether he is writing about the first female cosmonaut in orbit, the chief executioner of the French Revolution/Terror, a member of the first South Central Austalian Expedition, the Greek tragedian Aeschylus as a child, or the chief engineer of the Department of Nuclear Energy in Russia when the Chernobyl reactor catches on fire and melts, he is writing about you. He slides you as the reader into the shoes of these characters with ease. You don't even realized it has happened until you recognize yourself in these lonely individuals.

Jim Shepard helps us to navigate the empty spaces in our own souls and the equally empty spaces between ourselves and those around us, including those we claim to be intimate with—lovers, spouses, children, parents, siblings, close friends. In those barren landscapes of the heart and soul, he makes us examine who we are.

Now that you have read these short stories, you understand.

Wait. Maybe you don't...

No comments: