Tuesday, 9 April 2013

H is for Henry

Raymond Carver
Raymond Carver (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Henry is the narrator of Raymond Carver's short story, What Did You Do in San Francisco? He is a postman in a rural town in 1950s America who lives life by the rules but that life is disturbed by the arrival of a new family on his route. His opening line is: "This is nothing to do with me." But even though the narration centers on the story of the family, it is in fact all about Henry and it's his beliefs and his morality that come shining through when he remembers the Marston family that lived on his route for a brief time one summer. 

The parents in this new family are what Henry perceives to be 'beatniks' as the wife paints and the husband has a beard and no job. In short, they go against every way of life that Henry has ever put stock in and you know that he believes his feelings about the couple are completely justified by the troubles that ultimately befall them. 

In the self-editing your novel course that I completed earlier this year, we learnt about putting characters into action to show what they feel and think - and through the action of telling the Marston's story, Henry reveals a lot about himself without ever realising he is doing it. It's when I read writing like this that I wonder if I have a chance in hell of ever being anywhere near this good, but it makes me want to work even harder to try and get there. 

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  1. Hello, there, my friend...that sounds like a fascinating story. Your post makes me want to read it. Thank you. Best regards to you. Ruby

  2. I bet this one is for the psychology lover, the narrator (author) revealing not only the story of this family but revealing much about himself in the process. I think I'm adding this one to my "to be read" list!!

  3. I love stories and characters like these. It takes a lot of work and talent to create stories like these. I'm sure you'd do a fine job, Amanda.

  4. This sounds like a great story! I will have to add this to my list to read too. I have 4 books checked out from the public library that I haven't even opened the covers to yet because I have been busy with classes and the A-Z. Sounds like a goodie though that I would enjoy!


  5. My mission to increase everyone's TBR pile is going well!