Posted in Short Stories

Richard Ford: Under the Radar

Deal Me In 2019 – Week 11

A♥ A♥ A♥ A♥ A♥ A♥ A♥ A♥

On the drive over to the Nicholsons’ for dinner – their first in some time – Marjorie Reeves told her husband, Steven Reeves, that she had had an affair with George Nicholson (their host) a year ago, but that it was all over with now and she hoped he – Steven – would not be mad about it and could go on with life.

I don’t feel like I’m giving much away by quoting the first paragraph of Richard Ford’s short story “Under the Radar” because it’s the first paragraph. The rest of the story builds around Marjorie’s revelation to her husband. There’s a little background about the two of them and about Steven’s job.

The fact that Steven pulls the car over to the side of the road, its dark except for the car’s headlights and they are in the woods gives the story a noir feel. I’m not sure that’s Ford’s intention but the atmosphere lends itself well to the tension the couple feels – a tension that becomes more palpable as the story proceeds.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the raccoon.

oxford short stories

This story is included in The Oxford Book of American Short Stories edited by Joyce Carol Oates. I read it when I selected the Ace of Hearts for Week 11 of my Deal Me In 2019 Short Story project. My Deal Me In list can be found here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.




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