Sunday, March 26, 2017
Underground Above Ground, by Robert Tippee,
So, when do you know you are reading a terrific story?
Sometimes there's a knock-em-dead opening paragraph and you spend the rest of the story thinking: Don't blow this.
Sometimes a story starts slow and builds and builds.
And some stories take your breath away with a great twist ending.
But maybe the rarest is the story that catches you later, because you can't stop thinking about it. You read it again, not because you want to figure out how a trick ending worked, but because you want to savor the nuances, admire the architecture.
In other words: I had to sit with this one for a while, as the saying goes.
The nameless narrator is a young man who has mastered the art of disappearing. He dresses in black, with a stocking cap that hides his face. And as the story begins, it is after ten PM and he is sitting in the darkness near a city tennis court, watching a young man and his beautiful girlfriend as they volley the ball, flirt, and discuss Facebook.
Facebook. They ought to call it "Gutspill." I don't do Facebook. Somebody like me can't. But why would anybody?
This is a guy with nobody to "friend" on Facebook anyway. It's clear that there are bad things in our narrator's past, although it is not clear at first whether they were done to him, by him, or both.
And then the story takes several unexpected twists, which is all I can say. Except this: I loved it.