Short story: “While the Women Are Sleeping”

by look i have opinions

“While the Women Are Sleeping,” by Javier Marías, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa

Appeared in the New Yorker on November 2nd, 2009 (online here); read on Miette’s Bedtime Story Podcast

7,660 words

So I have a new tag, concealing and revealing the Medusa, to tag stories where there’s a lot of tension generated by getting the reader to believe in something that can never be fully revealed on the page. The horror is too horrifying, the Eden is too Edenic, whatever. I was getting ready to apply that tag when I realized no, it doesn’t fit. This story does reveal its Medusa, and like all naked Medusas, it’s slightly disappointing. Murder! Murder is a letdown, somehow. Domestic violence, violence against an attractive woman, is a letdown. We’ve seen it all before. The sense that madmen walk among us, that murderers let their secrets slip out while their victims are sleeping, isn’t especially new either.

I still adore this story though.