Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Short Story Wednesday: "The Year of the Rabbit" Alice Mcdermott

 (This story is an excerpt from McDermott's novel, ABSOLUTION. 

A young wife is in Vietnam in 1962 with her husband who is in the Navy. She discovers she is pregnant and comes under the care of a Navy doctor. One night, three months into her pregnancy, she feels cramps and sees a small amount of blood. Although she shares this information with her husband and he does summon the doctor, it is her Vietnamese housekeeper and her army wife friend who help her through this trauma of the miscarriage. Her new friend also shares the night terrors that are haunting her. The three women fashion a burial and ceremony for the fetus. There are other details about the US in Vietnam but they are really extraneous to this story but I am sure are relevant to the novel. I have always enjoyed McDermott's writing especially her novel CHARMING BILLY. You do feel in this excerpt that her marriage will not survive her husband's behavior during this incident. I will have to get the book and find out. 

George Kelley

Todd Mason


Margot Kinberg said...

This does sound like a potent story, Patti. And now I want to find out what happens to that marriage, too.

Jeff Meyerson said...

I see, it's a new book.

I wasn't particularly looking for more pulp stories, but after finishing the Cleve F. Adams collection, I'm reading Gil Brewer's DEATH COMES LAST, a collection of more of his stories from the '50s, which I bought some time ago on the Kindle. It definitely gives you that sleazy '50s Florida noir feel - no air conditioning, cheating wives (and husbands), etc.

I'll probably go back to the library and look for another collection, though I know I have more on my Kindle.

Todd Mason said...

And Gil Brewer outlasted the pulps, continuing to publish in the digest and other magazines...

Patti, thanks for reminding us to seek out some more (I've read perhaps two) of McDermott's stories. Was this excerpt published somewhere as a Work in Progress? Where'd you find it?

Here's mine, laden with fanzine history and a PBS documentary as well as other online links:


pattinase (abbott) said...

Sorry. It was in Harper's. A friend sent me a link.
Been figuring out what I need to do re: the move and the trip. Afraid I will bet to CA and my credit cards won't work because I just changed the address.
I have never read Brwer either.

TracyK said...

Sorry to be so late to comment. Yesterday just slipped away from me.

That excerpt sounds very good and I will go read it.

Hope the moving and the preparation for moving is going well.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Changing so many addresses is driving me crazy.
My view is now suburban rather than urban.
Is it ever going to stop raining in CA. February 24th I hope.

TracyK said...

I did go read the excerpt from McDermott's book and it was very good. I will try the book, when it comes out and is inexpensive enough to buy. It reminded me of when I was an officer's wife (Air Force) in the early 70s. Different time, different setting, but the same feel.

I hope it does not rain too much when you are in California.