Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction, Yiddish Literature, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality historical novels are some of my Literary Interests

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"A Father to Be" by Saul Bellow 1955

Long ago I read a number of novels by Saul Bellow.   I was very glad to find one of his short stories, originally published in The New Yorker in 1955, in an excellent anthology I am very slowly working my way through, Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker. 

"A Father to Be", set in New York City, opens with the male narrator talking to his girl friend on the phone.  She tells him to stop by the delicatescent to pick up some roast beef and a few other things. He has a younger brother he is sending through college and he is helping his elderly mother out financially and with the day to day living tasks that advancing age has made difficult.  As he rides the train through New York City, he thinks about his girl friend.  She is unemployed but too educated to work at a simple job.  She has a rich female housemate.  He loves her but he is troubled by something he cannot quite put his finger on.  He likes to look at the other people in his subway car and imagine their lives.  He sees a forty or so year old man he takes an instant dislike to for what he perceived as the snobbish cold elitism of the man.  Then he thinks " this is the kind of son my girlfriend and I will have".  

"A Father to Be" is a fine short story.  

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