While Cheever pays homage to James in both the themes of change and loss, as well as in the construction of his story, he uses the differences between the two stories to critique the mid-century American way of life.
There are many hard edges here—a pervading sense of doom hovers throughout—but my favorite moments are when we get to see the softer, more interior side of these characters.
The narrator in Rivka Galchen's story "The Lost Order" is akin to Walter Mitty, the protagonist in James Thurber's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," who sees himself as defined only in his dreams, not by the man he is in real life. They are both negative images.
Based on a Ray Bradbury short story, Elton John's “Rocket Man” was released the same week as the Apollo 16 launch, and echoes of the story can still be found on the surface of the moon.
There’s something wonderful in the thought of the subconscious of James Joyce meeting with that of Joyce Carol Oates to create her story “The Dead,” a response to his story of the same name.
Examining Mary Robison’s “Widower” and Amy Hempel’s “Today Will Be a Quiet Day” will consider the ways in which Hempel responded to Robison’s story and how a story’s meaning shifts when a connection is known.
In 1983, Raymond Carver included “The Train” in his collection Cathedral; he dedicated the story to John Cheever. and from the first words of the story, where one of the characters from a Cheever story is named, we see that Carver’s story will be responding to Cheever’s classic tale.
Munro has spoken about her debt to American writers from the South, including O’Connor, and we can clearly see how “Save the Reaper” is responding to O’Connor’s story by touching on similar themes and even moments, and yet spinning off from the original in true Munro fashion.
Grace Paley’s work has influenced many writers, both her contemporaries and those who followed. Amy Hempel has spoken often about Paley’s imprint on her work. For Hempel’s story “Today Will Be a Quiet Day,” Hempel has identified one Paley story as being particularly important.
Melissa Yancy’s debut story collection, Dog Years, is an exploration into the intersection between our public and private selves. Each of the nine stories follows a central protagonist who is navigating the world, often uneasily and unsuccessfully, trying hard to figure out how to create a life with fewer