‘Dead Men’ by Christine Schutt

I’m going to describe this story as a palate cleanser, which is a wildly inappropriate term, while at the same time getting somewhere close to rapidly articulating the effect reading the prose of Christine Schutt has on me. These are dark materials, but the writing is astonishingly clean, astonishingly sharp. Here, a woman is in bed, with her lover on top of her. Beneath her, under the bed, trussed, it seems, in canvas, is a former lover, now dead. A haunting, then, or something like it, charged with guilt in the face of a new, better desire. At the end, however, which hits hard, we might come to look again at the title and think about the plural noun.  

In Nightwork (Dalkey Archive, 1996)

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