>This is a terrific story, possibly my favorite of the year so far. Senior and Junior are two old men with the same name who have come to the same place by taking very different routes. Junior is alone in the world, but Senior is crowded by his second wife and her family as well as hundreds of family members of his own. The groundwork that Rushdie lays is beautiful and intricate.
“Neither man slept well anymore. At night they lay on hard beds without pillows and, behind their closed eyelids, their unsettled thoughts ran in opposite directions. Of the two men, V. Senior had lived by far the fuller life.”
And so it is no surprise that Senior is the one who is ready to pack it in. It is the end of the year and the New Year approaches. He tells Junior that either he will die in the next five days . . . or “else a year will begin in which my end will surely come.” Junior scoffs. And in fact Senior does not die.
Without giving too much of the story away, what happens is that the devastaing Christmas Tsunami that crippled so much of Indonesia, Thailand and South India strikes. Senior survives but is left to wonder, “Why not me?”
It’s a powerful story that I look forward to reading again.
May 18, 2009: “In the South” by Salman Rushdie