Posted in Short Stories

Philip F. Deaver: Geneseo


Deal Me In 2020 – Week 31

In the short time he’d known her, a few months, this was what he always noticed – her pallid, almost transparent color. The skin of a woman can make you wonder what you don’t know about her.

In Philip F. Deaver’s short story “Geneseo”, Jerome, the third person narrator takes Janet, his sort-of girlfriend, to a commune in which the story’s title is the name so she can get her 8 year-old daughter. Janet has recently left the commune where her daughter and husband still live.

Ultimately, neither Janet nor the commune are portrayed with a negative light. The fact that Jerome tells the story and he is mostly an innocent bystander contributes to the neutrality that seems central to the story. The reader learns that Janet has a drinking problem and that the commune is getting ready to close – lots of people have left. Nobody is forcing them to stay and nobody attempts to stop Janet from taking her daughter.

While this wasn’t my favorite story, it is the final story from the collection The Best American Catholic Short Stories edited by Daniel McVeigh and Patricia Schnapp from which I’ve read numerous great stories. My three favorites from this collection are:

3. Lions, Harts, Leaping Does by J. F. Powers

2. A Father’s Story by Andre Dubus

1. The Whore’s Child by Richard Russo

Check out my Deal Me In 2020 list here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.


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