Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Saturday, July 19, 2014

"The Black Square" by Chris Adrian (2011, an O Henry Prize Story)

A few days ago I read "A Tiny Feast", a wonderful dark fairy tale by Chris Adrian (there is a link to the story, from The New Yorker, in my post where you can and should read this really creative work).

I was happy to find two more short stories by Chris Adrian in short story anthologies I have on hand, one in the O Henry Prize Stories 2011.

"The Black Square" is a very interesting combination of a story about a Gay man vacationing on the very affluent island of Nantucket going over half bitter half poignant memories of his relationship while he contemplates stepping into what seems to be a very mysterious black square that seems to lead to either another dimension or just oblivion.  The central character is trying to decide if he should step through the black square or not.  He has given 100s of men, some he knows and some he doesn't, blow jobs.   You wonder if all this frantic sex is a search itself for oblivian.  The depiction of the sexuality of the man is handled in a matter of factual kind of way.

I liked this story, not as much as "A Tiny Feast" which I just loved.

Chris Adrian, M.D., M.Div., M.F.A. 

Chris Adrian has written three novels: Gob's Grief, The Children's Hospital, and The Great Night. In 2008, he published A Better Angel, a collection of short stories. His short fiction has also appeared in The Paris Review, Zoetrope, Ploughshares, McSweeney's, The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories, and Story. He was one of 11 fiction writers to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2009.Adrian completed his Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Florida in 1993. He received his M.D. from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2001. He completed a pediatric residency at the University of California, San Francisco, was a student at Harvard Divinity School, and is currently in the pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship at UCSF. He is also a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. 

There is a story by Adrian in 20 Under 40.  - from The New Yorker and I am looking forward to reading it soon.

Mel u


Jordan179 said...

I rated this story as mediocre. The concept of the mysterious black square which consumed or transported people somewhere was potentially-interesting, but the main character was an unlikeable drip and the story cut off before we learned where it led. If the point was that suicidal people would be drawn to such an anomaly -- yeah, sure -- but the same thing could be made about many dangerous or risky things.

Mel u said...

Jordon179. Thanks for your comment. What S/F short stories do you especially like?