Saturday, February 07, 2015

Short Story Saturday: "The Breeze" - what the hell was that?

My "Short Story Saturday" post is just not going to work out well this week.  It's not that I didn't pick out a story and read it, though; it's because the story I read led directly to one of those "what the hell" moments for me.  I have no idea what I just read...or why, for that matter.  (Actually, I think I get it...but even if I'm right about that, I'm still underwhelmed by the literary device used in the story.)

The story I chose was a long one by Joshua Ferris called "The Breeze," in which a woman seems to be having some kind of emotional crisis brought on by the first faint breezes of Spring in New York City.  I got that part...but I'm still not sure what happened when her husband got home from the office.  Embarrassingly, that's not because this is not a "good" short story - it was published in The New Yorker, after all, and I found it in my copy of The Best American Short Stories 2014.  So it has to be good...right?

To make this even worse, I like Joshua Ferris's writing and pretty much enjoyed all three of his rather quirky novels: Then We Came to the End (2007), The Unnamed (2010), and last year's To Rise Again at a Decent Hour.  This, though, is my first experience with one of the author's short stories, and it left me bewildered in more ways than one.


  1. I've read this story as well and agree that it is a real head-scratcher. By the end of the story I thought I KIND OF understood what Ferris was trying to do, but I had to read it twice to get to that point.

    1. Thanks, Randall, that makes me feel a little better. The funny thing is that right up until the halfway point of the story, I was sure that I understood it perfectly. Only gradually, did I begin to realize that the linear/chronological flow was a thing of the past. By then it was too late to figure things out...the story was over.