Short story: “Summer, Boys”

by look i have opinions

“Summer, Boys,” by Ethan Rutherford

From One Story, issue 145 (Volume 9 Number 11 February 1, 2011); subscribe or buy here

About 17 pages in One Story, ? words

One thing that impresses me about “Summer, Boys” is the use of third-person plural narration, which I didn’t realize was even a thing. You might expect it to be a clunky, attention-getting device, but it works beautifully. The narrator lets the boys be a single “they,” a single shared identity, with very little distinction between them, but from the start there’s an almost constant tension: can they stay like this? It gradually becomes clear that the narrative point of view belongs more to one boy than to the other. He’s the one who’s anxious about getting left behind, losing the most important part of his life, being no longer welcome at his friend’s house.

This story is also an awesome evocation of eighties childhood.