Meeks's talent at exploring the power dynamics within relationships, almost exclusively between men and women, is fascinating. Of these eleven stories, all of them provide a unique glimpse on the interaction of men and women. This is more obvious in some stories such as “Dracula Slinks into the Night,” where a couple attends a Halloween party. As the story builds towards its climax, chinks appear in their relationship providing an ever-widening contrast between the more social, easy-going wife who wants to have a baby and a more reserved, technically inclined husband who wants to know what the big rush is. After a near fatal incident, the couple experiences a miniature existential crisis that ultimately allows them to slide together.
In contrast to this is “The Holes in My Door,” which features an alienated man living alone. The women in his life are distant: his wife has divorced him and his girlfriend is a cyber image and a voice over the phone rather than a more solid personage entering his life. It’s a story of isolation and alienation, and it’s befitting that the women are absent. By the conclusion of the story, our protagonist has physically, mentally, and perhaps emotionally barricaded himself off.
More or less, the stories in this collection hit the ten-page mark, though the two stories “The Sun is a Billiard Ball” and “Breaking Water” are substantially longer. “The Sun is a Billiard Ball” is perhaps my favorite story in the collection and provides “a day in the life of” intertwining of two families that ultimately have near misses until they collide at the end of the story. (Very Ulysses-esque, no?) Death is a constant companion of the story as a father fears cancer and a couple gets tested for HIV. Both are horrifying and the heaviness of the story is only relieved when one of the characters nearly dies. The reader is allowed a peculiar sense of relief between the alternatives of life being snuffed out immediately or smoking out over time.
Causes Christopher Meeks Supports
Associated Writing Programs