December 23 & 30: “The Christmas Miracle” by Rebecca Curtis
Wow. This story did nothing for me at all. While I admire the story’s three independent threads (as the author discusses in the Q&A with Rebecca Curtis), it left me cold. It also felt incomplete—with none of the threads resolved. Furthermore, the narrator’s very strange behavior isn’t explained. Nor is any exploration made of the dirty old Uncle’s probable abuse of the narrator and her siblings when they lived under his roof. (He’s a pedophile, apparently, and they moved in with him when all four were under the age of six.)
I suppose the New Yorker took this story to use in its Christmas issue. Many members of a family descend on one house—a very strange house it is, too—in which cats are dying. They’re being attacked by coyotes in the backyard. The uncle is a pedophile. The narrator (who is telling the story to a friend in a letter after the event) is on various medicines and is confused by treatments relating to her Lyme disease, which has also affected several members of her family.
Although I didn’t like the story, I did like the scene in which the narrator is hallucinating all her family members as various animals. That was brilliant.
I hated the story! The narrator was weird and the entire unfolding of events, depressing, but then many N’Yorker stories are depressing. Why it was chosen as a Christmas story is a wonder, but perhaps the fiction editor wanted to be a contrarian.
Wow, that was so great. I loved the story, it was wonderful, funny, quirky, loved the way it unfolded, how could anyone find that depressing?… sense of humour failure perhaps? Sometimes PC is anything but humanity, acceptance and kindness. Thanks so much Rebecca Curtis, it made my day. It was so great I enrolled to the New Yorker immediately and hope to read many more fantastic stories like this one
So the miracle was that the cat survived the attack from the coyote?
No, the miracle is that the narrator’s sister finally got the courage to banish her pedo uncle and her complicit mother from her house .
This was the best short story I read last year, loved it.
Here is an analysis that talks about why Uncle’s probable abuse of the narrator and her siblings is not directly addressed.