Now I move on to the final four stories in Steven Millhauser’s collection Voices in the Night: Stories:
I guess I like dark humor more than I like plain old dark. This one is very dark and very funny. I’m still not sure, though, about what seems to be Millhauser’s infatuation with suicide.
Another story that I don’t completely understand but I’ll give it a go. A town has what could be considered a park known as “The Place”. It has some surreal, fantastical elements that attract some people to it whole-heartedly, some only half-way and others not at all. The narrator tends to lose his relationships to “The Place”. I’m going way out on a limb, here, but “The Place” seems to be where people with great imaginations go.
“An American Tall Tale”
Paul Bunyan enters a contest with his ne’er-do-well book-loving brother, James. I would consider this story delightful. Writing in typical tall-tale style, I have come to appreciate Millhauser’s ability to put himself in different voices while continuing to maintain his own.
“The Pleasures and Sufferings of Young Gautama”
From the title, it comes as no surprise that this story has a Buddhist flavor and along with it some beautiful writing and ideas – lots of “knowing and not knowing”. Prince Siddhartha Gautama goes through a journey of inward-looking and self-discovery much to the dismay of his friends and family. I’m tempted to say this is my favorite of this bunch; however, it’s not as much of a standout as some of my other favorites.