Posted in Short Stories

Elizabeth Hardwick: Evenings at Home (Deal Me In 2018 – Week 1)

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When I left I heard the beautiful bells ringing to announce that it was five o’clock and I went home in a lyrical mood, admitting that I had spent many happy, ridiculous days in this town.

Along with the old adage that you can’t judge a book by its cover, it appears you can’t judge a short story by its title. When I realized that Elizabeth Hardwick’s short story “Evenings at Home” showed up as my first short story for Deal Me In 2018, I wondered why I had put this story on my list since the title seemed too uninviting – rather boring, if I’m honest.

However, it blew me away and while I have 51 more stories to go in 2018, I can’t help but think this is going to rank somewhere at the top as a favorite.

The narrator returns home to Kentucky after living in New York City for a while. The story feels like a stream of consciousness moving through the emotions between what is and what used to be. The emotions also move in and out of the conflict between both the narrator’s disdain and love for her hometown. In theme and style, this story reminds me very much of Jamaica Kincaid’s “Poor Visitor”.

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Incidentally, the introduction to this story explains that Hardwick herself moved to New York City after graduation from the University of Kentucky. It’s included in my copy of Home and Beyond: An Anthology of Kentucky Short Stories edited by Morris Allen Grubbs. I read it when I picked the Five of Diamonds for Week 1 of my Deal Me In 2018 short story project. My Deal Me In list can be found here. Deal Me In 2018 is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.

4 thoughts on “Elizabeth Hardwick: Evenings at Home (Deal Me In 2018 – Week 1)

  1. I think you’ve now endorsed enough of the stories in this book for me to at least buy a copy and maybe even use it as “suit material” for a future DMI iteration. 🙂 You may have noticed my 1st story of the year is also a potential favorite for me.

    I’ve actually been going to Kentucky (Louisville) a lot lately for chess. They have a series of invitational events limited to expert-rated (and above) players. I was just there yesterday as a matter of fact. 🙂 Excellent practice for me for the bigger events and everyone is tough to beat.

    1. While Kentucky has a bunch of negative stereotypes, I’ve found it an interesting state to live in. A state in which the top three moneymakers (not necessarily in order) are horseracing, tobacco and bourbon can’t be all bad! And both Louisville and Lexington are awesome cities to visit.

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