Title: Beneath All That Bone by Jess Walter
Date Read: 03 November 2009
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: Witnessing a particularly traumatic road accident on the freeway, Nate and Tracy decide to pull into a motel to reflect and spend some ‘private time’ with one another. At first all seems well, but there is more to this couple than first meets the eye.
Afterthoughts: This is a really good story, and ingeniously crafted. Rather than following a straightforward chronological narrative, Walter’s mixes it up a bit. A flashback here, a bit of ‘live’ action there, Beneath All that Bone reminded me quite a lot of the story-telling technique used by Tarantino in the movie Pulp Fiction. Clever stuff and superbly engaging all the way to the final full stop.
Notable Quote: The paramedic drove his crossed hands into the woman’s chest; beat after beat rising and falling for her, rising and falling. Nate was surprised at how deeply the man had to push—but of course, the heart lies beneath all that bone. The paramedic would have to nearly flatten the woman to cause her heart to beat, to push blood out to all of those distant points. It would be like working a bellows beneath that casing of bone. And yet it seemed too violent, too rough, this thing he was doing to save the woman
*Story read as part of my 100 Shots of Short reading challenge.