Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Frederick Busch :: Frederick Busch Literature Essays
Frederick BuschWhen someone asked Em bituel Siys what hed done during the Reign of Terror, he replied, I survived.though the characters in the stories of Frederick Buschs latest collection dont have to contend with quite the same adversities as Monsieur Siys, nevertheless they encounter revelations which are, in our modern context, honest as terrifying.And more often than not, they survive them. These revelations usually involve the acquisition of knowledge--the sort of knowledge we frequently already possess, but pretend that we dont parents have lives exclusively secret from their children there is a point beyond which damaged love cannot be repaired people use other people even when (and as) they love them.The families in these stories create stories of their own, stories about who and what they are as entities--stories which are often at odds with reality, but which help them to deal with the disappointments and tragedies of that reality.Clearly, the titles allusion to Hansel a nd Gretel invites reading these as stories of innocence preoccupied and most of the reviews of this oft-reviewed and much-praised collection (it was short listed for the 1995 Pen-Faulkner award) make much of this connection.But these are also stories of the terrifying darkness of adult responsibilities recognized and faced, though not of all time triumphantly. In Bread two children try to put their parents house together (or perhaps take it apart) after their parents accidental death one seeks refuge in mockery and denial, while the other makes bread which will never be eaten and thinks on various kinds of debris the still-smoking rubble of his two-year marriage, the pile of clothes which has nothing to do with how my mother wore my fathers flannel shorts on Sunday to cook in...In the stylistically innovative Bring Your Friends to the Zoo, a couple (these are nearly always duets of longing) awkwardly try to dismantle (or remember?) their affair, while being directed by the narrato r about how to move, what to see Once through the gate, face right.The cervid House, the Camel House ... As you face your right you see a path before you.Take it.The zoo would seem at first neutral ground, but we interpret there is no neutrality, no one is the innocent bystander, the one-day tourist.In Is Anyone Left This Time of Year? tourism of another kind is explored when a recently widowed man visits a town where there are no more tourists, and once there, shell-shocked with grief, he merely repeats everything said to him, thus becoming an echo of his previous visits absolutely passive, he is the compleat tourist, merely and only seeing the sights.