>At first, having eagerly read “Slides” by Gary Buslik (in the August 2007 issue of The Sun, I wasn’t happy with the ending. Particularly since the story is clearly told in retrospective mode — the narrator is reviewing slides taken by his father of a trip the family took in 1955 across country to see Disneyland in its opening year — but I didn’t care for the ending. That is, the ending of the slide show was fine, which is the real ending of the story, but the ending of the 1955 trip was, I thought, only barely hinted at. On rereading (something I don’t always do with a magazine story), I found that the hints were much stronger than I realized at the time, and so now I have no doubt what happened. That’s enough to satisfy me. And yet. I don’t like a narrator who withholds information from me and this one never does say what happened; the reader must find the clues.
So I don’t love this story (I like it, but don’t love it), but I do find the characters compelling. We see the father especially clearly, with his resentment of his family for being a burden on him, his obsession with his camera, his predilection to photograph is beloved son (the narrator, who doesn’t feel loved) over other family members.
And the writing is often terrific.
“Here is — as it must always be at the end of my slide show — the great, infinite sea: turquoise blue, eternal, beckoning. Even so many years and viewings later, in the picture you can sense the water’s amniotic warmth — a womb of insulation against life’s tribulations, wavelets lapping to the rhythm of respiration. Even in the fifty-year-old sunlight blazing on the screen, you understand the temptation to slip gently into its enveloping caress.”