>The most recent One Story contains “Good Luck” by Kate Walbert (click here for an interview). Walbert’s novel, Our Kind, readers may recall, was nominated in 2004 for a National Book Award, the least obscure of the finalists. This story is intriguing. It is told from the point of view of Bill (in a voice I didn’t find convincingly male, I have to say), a World War II veteran who marries Evelyn; now, after 50 years of marriage, Evelyn is leaving him and has chosen the moment of their voyage to Patagonia to tell him.
This is one of those stories that is illuminated by examining what isn’t there. Evelyn is leaving Bill, but we don’t really know why. We know they had children, but all we know of their marriage is that the honeymoon began awkwardly, and that she wasn’t sure that marrying him was what she wanted. We know that Bill was injured as a prisoner of war, but we don’t really know how that affected him, other than that his teeth were ruined.
Here’s an excerpt from the middle of the story:
“He would not call this place a camp, or a prison, or even a village; it is a collection of cement barracks, manmade caves on an island where the caves have been mined for the enemy. Within the concrete walls are empty bamboo cages—they’ve been expecting him—and though he does not fit in the cage he is put in the cage for good luck. This is what his captor tell him: good luck, they say, this their English. Good luck.”
For another perspective on the story, see what Myfanwy Collins has to say.
Next in the Wave: Golden Handcuffs Review