Paul Theroux’s short story in The New Yorker, Oct 7 2013, is the perfect mix of clear prose and intriguing fiction. Modern in mood and concept, I’m the Meat, You’re the Knife, is captivating in a smart but straightforward manner. While applied truths emerge from the text, the content slowly reveals another thread that is darker, dare I say, even cruel. With uncertain mischievousness that has become the mainstay of the best contemporary short fiction around these days, the narrative pulls the reader seamlessly forwards.

Tricky, and telling of death in all its aftermath-practicality and pre-build-up vulnerability – the story strikes the exact path (complete with dips and bends) between empathy and payback, politeness and manipulation; and, most importantly, follows along the spine of the principle: You better be mindful of the things you do for they can come back to bite you.

Or perhaps not! Indeed, why the work works so well, is that, as the reader, you are never really told – although you think you know – if you’re batting for the right person: a constant that keeps you on its string until the very last.

 

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