Mother’s Day – George Saunders
The story Mother’s Day was originally published in the New Yorker.
“In typical Saunders this short story disarms and enchants in equal measure. There’s no sickly-sweet reminiscing here. This is cold-hard family realities brought home in spectacular fashion. Misunderstanding and disconnect are the key drivers in this short, powerful tale.
Paul is dead and his philandering has left its scars. We are shown how two women’s love for the same man can have very varied consequences. For his wife, Alma, it is the sacrifices towards her children that she has made for him. For his mistress, Debi, it is her willingness to play second fiddle. And for both families the consequences are far reaching and painful.
As with many of Saunders’ short tales it takes a while to understand what he is trying to tell us. The reality gently sweeps out of the swamp of minutiae and vernacular description that he spreads liberally throughout his stories, but that only serves to make the reveal more impactful when it at last appears.
If you haven’t read it yet STR highly recommends his short story collection ‘Tenth of December’.
The SHORT TALE Review 2016