Thursday, November 14, 2013

"The State of Grace" by Harold Brodkey

Last spring, Richard Ford read Harold Brodkey's "The State Grace" for The New Yorker. Having read many of Ford's own stories, I can understand why he likes this story--although the setting is different from those I recognize from Ford's work--the protagonist is very familiar to me, very similar to those in Ford's stories, I think. (Ford gives his own reasons for choosing this particular story to feature.)
Anyway, the story is good, really good, but I also enjoyed the conversation had by Ford and Deborah Treisman after the reading--particularly the bit about titles:

Ford believes Brodkey just hung this title on the story for the purpose of giving it a good one, even though it didn't fit the story (I actually think it did fit--in the sense that in telling the story the narrator seemed to me to be seeking a state of grace)--and Ford says this is just fine. Hearing this on a day when my sense of accomplishment stems from nothing more than titling a piece, I've got to say, is a little disheartening.   
The text:
The podcast:
Harold Brodkey

Richard Ford

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