Short story: “The State of Grace”

by look i have opinions

“The State of Grace,” by Harold Brodkey

First appeared in the New Yorker on November 6, 1954 (subscribers can read here); read for their May 2013 fiction podcast (here); collected in First Love and Other Sorrows

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A very good episode. Richard Ford’s reading is great.

I think Ford may be right about the story’s title being awesome but meaningless. That irks me. I want to think it refers to the state that the young protagonist has the potential to reach, but chooses not to.

Edit: Creating a new tag, “literary plots,” to tag fiction whose plots take place “beneath the surface,” as Nathan Bransford puts it.

Another edit, because these last lines demand to be quoted (found here):

“I’m thinking of all the years that might have been—if I’d only known then what I know now. The waste, the God-awful waste. Really, that’s all there is to this story. The boy I was, the child Edward was. That, and the terrible desire to suddenly turn and run shouting back through the corridors of time, screaming at the boy I was, searching him out and pounding on his chest: Love him, you damn fool, love him.”

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