I was very happy to see The Paris Review has generously allowed non-subscribers to read online a story by Zadie Smith (UK, 1975) in the just published Summer of 2014 issue. In the Spring 2014 issue they published a wonderful story by Smith about a performer in a transvestite show, "Miss Adele Among the Corsets" which I greatly enjoyed.
"Big Week" is a very moving and insightful story focusing on a fifty six year old ex-Boston policeman of Irish parentage. He works as a bartender and drives a limo sometimes. He has three grown sons. He talks about how one has a Korean girlfriend, one is married to an African American woman, and one is currently without a girlfriend but he jokingly says maybe he will round things out by hooking up with a Chinese woman. He is getting divorced butthe tells his son his thirty years with his wife was the greatest part of his life.
The story has a kind of second half when he picks up a woman from Uganda at the airport, in Boston to speak at a conference on architecture. You can tell the woman is not really interested in talking to him but he goes on anyway to his captive audience. You can see his is trying hard to force his spirits up, his divorce is this week. We learn the pathetically sad reason he lost his job and his police pension.
This is an excellant story. I have a copy of her novel NW and hope to read it soon.
You can read "Big Week" at this link