Thursday, August 17, 2017

Stay Awake

Today I return to my report on my summer reading, here Stay Awake, a book of short stories by Dan Chaon. But I have to say I am preoccupied by current events, heartsick and sad about the violence in Virginia and now in Spain. Though perpetrated by different people, for different surface reasons, it seems to come from the same scared, angry place--little men, probably off balance, seeking meaning or purpose in the only way they can find, by hurting or killing others to make their lonely, alone, senseless "statement." The violence here in my own country does mean that we, its citizens and residents, must stay awake! Realize how deep goes the anger and hatred and displacement and lack of logic or empathy on the part of those doing the violence. They don't really know what they are doing, do they? If they did, they'd have to stop. They act in a terrible ignorance of their relationship with others, with the rest of us.

Dan Chaon's stories here are ghost stories. Or stories with a mystical or supernatural component or possibility. But all of them ring true at the psychological level, too, as just a state of mind, or a state of sleep, or a dreaming state....

I did not know his wife had died of cancer. Now I want to read her stories, too. Here is his loving account of her.

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