Title: Wish Fulfillment by Mary Gaitskill
Date Read: 09 February 2008
Available Online?: YES (as one of the stories posted by Harper Perennial on their website Fifty-Two Stories, which promises a new (or classic) short story from their collection, posted every week throughout 2009)
Briefly: The narrator recounts the dream of a little girl Mary, where events and feelings correspond in similar ways to the real-time events of the narrator as she relays the dream (I think :o))
Afterthoughts: I read it once, I read it twice, and, because it’s so short, I read it a third time. But for the life of me I couldn’t (still can’t) determine what on earth this story was trying to tell me. So I’ve come up with the theory – that the story has been written to purposely be as vague and ambiguous as it can be. Why? Well the story is obviously centred around a dream and the switching back and forward between reality and a dreamscape. Just as our dreams are often jumbled and not fully understood, so this story is, so that it matches that ambiguous feeling we get when attempting to recall a past dream. Does that feasible? Probably not but it’s the best theory I could come up with :o)
Notable Quote: “As Mary descended the stairs, she became me, or, to put it another way, I became dimly aware of her, descending down into herself as I, a middle-aged woman, drove through the town where I live on a rainy spring night listening to an old song on an obsolete tape. The music in the song started with the sound of a crippled machine stripped to its barest function, turning unevenly round and round on a cockeyed pivot, screeching sweetly and brokenly. There was a sound like slow-struck bells and a voice like that of somebody looking for something in the dark.”
*Story read as part of my 100 Shots of Short reading challenge.