The New Yorker: “Box Sets” by Roddy Doyle

CV1_TNY_04_14_14Blitt.inddApril 14, 2014: “Box Sets” by Roddy Doyle

Q&A with Roddy Doyle

After three months of unemployment, Sam is feeling the strain. He and his wife goes to the homes of friends for dinner parties at which the menu features ethnic “street food” and the conversations revolves around “box sets” from mostly American television series. Sam, partly because of his job situation, I suppose, feels behind the times, as he has not seen these programs. One day he and Emer argue. He doesn’t want to go to yet another dinner, feeling the stress of unemployment, although he doesn’t quite admit it. Angry, he takes the dog for a walk when he is slammed into by a cyclist. The cyclist is hurt, although Sam in his anger thinks only of himself. He even manages to get home, without a thought for the dog. In the end, he has concluded that everything will be fine.

The story lacks depth, I think. Although the metaphor of the box sets is interesting, it isn’t really utilized fully, or at all, and the main story of Sam’s stress and epiphany is pretty shallow.

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