Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Bridge in the Jungle by B Traven

We love mysteries and even when the mystery is solved we are inclined to doubt the solution. The mystery of B Traven is such an open and we leave it open case.
B Traven - a mystery solved
is a fascinating documentary from 1978. It's the great old style B.B.C. Documentary with Robert Robinson in what looks suspiciously like a bush jacket or a safari shirt, some sort of intrepid tailoring anyway. He speaks slowly and projects a lot in foreign speak to a number of people who knew B Traven in his various avatars.

Other B Traven musing is to be had in a witty story by Rudolfo A. Anaya B Traven is alive and well in Cuernavaca available complete at story

One of the people he meets is of course John Huston who filmed The Treasure of the Sierra Madre Reading the book I find that famous piece of dialogue practically unchanged but put in the mouth of Curtin rather than Dobbs:
'All right,' Curtain shouted back, 'If you are the police where are your badges? Let's see them.
'Badges, to god dammed hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don't need badges, I don't have to show you any stinking badges, you god-dammed cabron and ching' tu madre.

I imagine that the reason that I don't see B Traven in any of the barrows that I frequent is that they have been read to bits. I found his novel The Bridge in the Jungle from 1928,(English publication in 1938,) in a Penguin 1975 reprint. B Traven covers are good. Here's a selection of them from
just seeds

I haven't quite finished The Treasure yet but I would say as a novel The Bridge is the better of the two. The construction is tighter, less yarny without side-trips here and there which the former is subject to. A hard bitten prospector who goes after what the jungle will provide, gems, gold,crocodile hides, medicinal plants, meets up with another gringo who is pump master in a village. There is to be a fiesta and while they wait for the music to begin one of the kids that have been hanging about the bridge goes missing. The fear is that he , though a good swimmer has fallen into the water and getting into difficulties may have drowned. So they drag and probe a little to satisfy the natural search methods that must first be utilised before the humility before the supernatural can come into play. An old Indian who knows the way of these things takes command and looks for a thick candle. Such candles are hard to find but someone offers what the old 'brujo' hardly hoped for.

'A consecrated one' the old Indian gasped. 'A consecrated one, a real consecrated one! Woman be thanked, that's exactly the very one I am looking for. Now we can't fail. Bring it! Quick! Hurry! Please let me have that candle, senora!'

He fixes the candle,a thick one, like the sort the about to be confirmed carry in procession, to the precise centre of a board and sets it off in the river the idea being that the calling to the light of the spirit of the dead child trapped in the river will bring the candle to hover over the spot. Here is where Koves/Traven brings to bear the ethnological lore that he gained from his expeditions to the jungles of Southern Mexico. But his respect is not that one might have for a reliable native informant, it is their dignity before the rigours of life that has him abandon observation and become immersed in the mystery.

He brings too that element of low comedy that ameliorates the funeral, Taintgonnarainnomo as suitable music for the ragged process to the grave. Which, really, it is.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

Going by the author information in the front of the book there is some congruence between the life of the author Richard Yates and the protagonist of Revolutionary Road. They are of a similar age, war experience, job experience. Whether the picture window was part of the vista I don’t know but in the large corporation , Remington Rand, where he worked, there would be plenty of suburbia to go around.

The focus of the book is on the Wheeler family, Frank & April parents, Jennifer and Michael the children up in Connecticut. That perennial American stranger, the absent father, is in both the Wheelers lives. The novel opens with an amateur drama production of Sherwood’s The Petrified Forest. Being a Googleamus I find that it is a sort of key or ‘clef’ if you will. (from the play)

Gabby (undeterred): We could go to France, and you’d show me everything, all the cathedrals and the art—and explain everything. And you wouldn’t have to marry me, Alan. We’d just live in sin and have one hell of a time.

Squier: That’s a startling proposal, Gabrielle. I hadn’t expected to receive anything like it in this desert….

Gabby: Wouldn’t you like to be loved by me?

Also foundmarin

plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, April.

Both the Wheelers are in the Holdenesque argot of the era (1955) phonies, actors in search of a character or something. The little grace notes of observation honed by empirical acquaintance are delicate. Frank Wheeler drinks dry sherry on a Sunday. It is I suppose almost Calvinist after the hard liquor of the week and slightly brittle and sophisticated. Not that they are narcissistic, Narcissus had an image that he loved, they are looking for one that someone else can love.

I won’t say anything about the plot. Period note: She decamps to the couch. Let’s not be too snotty about Suburbia, how do you think you got to College, punk. This is a very fine novel by someone I had never heard of. It is one I will reread.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Causality in Advaita

What happens when you have a restricted diet of examples? Ontological malnutrition no less. Such is the ‘clay and vessels’ of Shankaracarya which has become the standard paradigm of causation in Advaita. The problem is simply stated. Material causality is taken as the paradigm case of causality. Clay is the material cause of a clay vessel of which the pot, dish, plate etc is the effect. Gold is the material cause of rings, bangles, necklaces etc. They are its effects. That particular line of thinking is further developed into reflections on Brahman and what is real but for a start let me focus on the causality issue.

The westerner has an advantage here of having Magister Aristotle as a pedagogue telling him that causality has four aspects to it, material, efficient, formal and final. He reminds us that potency is not act. A lump of clay left there will not transform itself into a vessel just because it can so be transformed. An efficient cause is required for that. The formal cause of the particular vessel will be the standard type that is required for whatever function is desired. Form follows function as is said. The actual material as such does not effect anything in a causal sense but it must of course be a suitable material. It is therefore not correct to speak of Material Cause and its Effect as though the latter flowed from the former. The material cause is not an actuating principle on its own.

Both material and formal elements are intrinsic to the effect as existing ie. this particular plate, that particular pot. Neither element on its own is an adequate explanation for the particular existent. The extrinsic causes of the the particular existent or effect are the efficient and final causes.

In the Thomist manual by Coffey Ontlogy the Aristotelian/Thomistic understanding is put succintly:

In what does the positive causal influence of a material cause consist? How does it contribute positively to the actualization of the composite reality of which it is the material cause? It recieves and unites with the form which is educed from its potentiality by the action of efficient causes, and thus contributes to the generation of the concrete, composite, individual reality.

With that background limned in the consideration of the text from the Chandogya Upanishad VI.i.4 will be in a separate post:

By knowing a single lump of clay, everything that is made of clay would become known. A modification begins with speech, it is a (mere) name. The clay alone is true i.e. real.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Karma and Evolution

Shankaracarya (788-820 A.D) of course had no idea of Darwinian evolution. Extracting the implication of the doctrine of karma he declares that the transmigratory state has no beginning. Rebirth is on the basis of karma so there will always have to be prior births for the whole machinery to operate, it can’t just suddenly start up. In reply to an objection :

From Brahma-Sutra-Bhasya II.i.35

It is only after creation that results of work, depending on the diversification into bodies etc., could be possible by depending on the result of work........


That is no defect, since the transmigratory state has no beginning, This defect would have arisen if transmigration had a beginning. But if that state had no beginning, there is nothing contradictory for the fruits of work and the variety in creation to ac t as cause and effect of each other on the analogy of the seed and the sprout.

In that view of the cosmos man and all the species were always there. It’s interesting that some Hindus find themselves aligned with Christian fundamentalists in the denial of evolution. Others seem not to have a coherent position on the matter. Probably they are waiting for some authoritative pronouncement.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

De Quincey, Coleridge and Yeats meet the Keswick carrier.

De Quincey and Wordsworth had gone out to meet the carrier from Keswick (Lake District) bearing newspapers with the latest reports of the war in Spain. It was a clear night and Wordsworth stretched himself upon the ground and had an experience which he related to De Quincey:

"I have remarked, from my earliest days, that, if under any circumstances, the
attention is energetically braced up to an act of steady observation, or of
steady expectation, then, if this intense condition of vigilance should suddenly
relax, at that moment any beautiful, any impressive visual object, or collection
of objects, falling upon the eye, is carried to the heart with a power not known
under other circumstances.Just now my ear was placed upon the stretch, in order to catch any sound of wheels that might come down upon the lake of Wythburn from the Keswick road; at the very instant when I raised my head from the ground, in final abandonement of hope for this night, at the very instant when the organs of attention were all at once relaxing from their tension, the bright star hanging in the air above those outlines of massy brightness fell suddenly upon my eye, and penetrated my capacity of apprehension with a pathos and a sense of the infinite, that would not have arrested me under any other circumstances".

Here you have the perfect example of the natural movement from the one-pointed state (ekgratha) to the expanded state of consciousness. This is a standard practice in meditation and it occurs spontaneously and is the more effective the greater the disjunction.

The embowered Coleridge, (from) This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison

A delight
Comes sudden on my heart, and I am glad
As I myself were there! Nor in this bower,
This little lime-tree bower, have I not mark'd
Much that has soothed me. Pale beneath the blaze
Hung the transparent foliage; and I watch'd
Some broad and sunny leaf, and lov'd to see
The shadow of the leaf and stem above
Dappling its sunshine! And that walnut tree
Was richly ting'd, and a deep radiance lay
Full on the ancient ivy,

Yeats's movement is from a rapt examination to a release into a state of expansion that burns off the fogs of yea and nay. He writes:
At certain moments, always unforeseen, I become happy.... Perhaps I am sitting in some crowed restaurant, the open book beside me, or closed, my excitement having overbrimmed the page. I look at the strangers near as if I had known them all my life, and it seems strange that I cannot speak to them; everything fills me with affection, I have no longer any fears or any needs, I do not even remember that this happy mood must come to an end. It seems as if the vehicle had suddenly grown pure and far extended.
(from Mythologies)

Vacillilation, IV

My fiftieth year had come and gone,
I sat, a solitary man,
In a crowded London shop,
An open book and empty cup
On the marble table-top.

While on the shop and street I gazed
My body of a sudden blazed;
And twenty minutes more or less
It seemed, so great my happiness,
That I was blesséd and could bless.

Friday, 14 October 2011

More on A.E. Coppard from V.S. Pritchett and Frank O'Connor.

Frank O’Connor and V.S. Pritchett speak highly of Coppard and they are both of them masters of the short story. There’s peer review. Pritchett talks about him in an interview from 1985. I came across it looking for Irish influence in the work of Coppard. Irish characters crop up and theres a Celtic aspect. He was part of a group called the New Elizabethans in Oxford along with W.B.Yeats The universal element in folk stories which Lady Gregory and Yeats were discovering and recording seemed to grasp that chthonic power which eluded the over elaborate productions of the modern mind. James Stephens comes to mind as one tuned to the same station.

B.F.: I'd like to ask a little more about the first short stories you read. You said that in Dublin you read D.H. Lawrence and Joyce's Dubliners.

V.S.P.: Yes... yes, I read them, and I also read an English writer who is now rather forgotten but who was an extremely gifted writer of stories, in a very small compass, a man called A.E. Coppard. I admired his stories enormously. And in fact I used to know him, when I was living in the country. He was a nearby neighbour. And he was a very strange man; he was a warehouse‑man's clerk or something like that who had decided to be a writer, so he had gone out and lived in a shed in the woods in Buckinghamshire, entirely on his own, with no sanitation and his drinking water from a well, in a shallow well in the earth. And he was a natural perfectly spontaneous man, not muddle‑headed he was absolutely clear‑headed. I don't think he had any views about life in general, any kind of intellect, but he had a marvellous appreciation of the instant; he could describe a squirrel very well, he could describe a game‑keeper, he could describe a couple of old farmers arguing about whether, beef is better than veal to eat, or what pork is like, and things like that. He had a great decorative sense of comedy. He was unfortunately, when I look back upon it, a rather folkish writer; he came at a period when the peasantry were dead really and they only existed in pockets in England, in little places, and their traditional customs by that time had almost gone. It was when suburbia spread out and the countryside died. That curious old England went out. Another writer who was very good, in the same way, in his early stories, who came later, was H.E. Bates. He wrote very well, very good English, had a good style, but was also brief.
from Journal of the Short Story
journal of the short story

I can see where the folkish which has a disparaging tone could come from. There is a narrative quickness, a blending of worlds, a suspension of ordinary judgment of the probable and the possible, beggars, pilgrims and beautiful shy girls. Pritchett is a master of penny plain truth, Coppard will do you a nice tuppence coloured and thrupence de luxe. Can’t do better than that guv’. What you often get is a fragment like the flow of a stream around a rock where there is an order wrought by the nature of all the elements in the event but this order is never repeated.

Frank O’Connor in The Paris Review 1957 has this to say (
Yesterday I was finishing off a piece about my friend A. E. Coppard, the greatest of all the English storytellers, who died about a fortnight ago. I was describing the way Coppard must have written these stories, going around with a notebook, recording what the lighting looked like, what that house looked like, and all the time using metaphor to suggest it to himself, “The road looked like a mad serpent going up the hill,” or something of the kind, and, “She said so-and-so, and the man in the pub said something else.” After he had written them all out, he must have got the outline of his story, and he’d start working in all the details
paris review

Thursday, 13 October 2011

A.E. Coppard

Ah, sir, wisdom was ever deluding me, for I’m not more than half done - like a poor potato. First, of course, there’s the things you don’t know; then there’s the things you do know but can’t understand; then there’s the things you do understand but which don’t matter. Saving your presence, sir, there’s a heap of understanding to be done before you’re anything but a fool.
(from Simple Simon by A.E. Coppard)

This is from a short story collection, Black Dog by A.E. Coppard (1878 -1957) first published in 1923 then issued in the pucca ‘Travellers’ Library’format put out by Jonathan Cape in 1926, reprinted in 1926, 28, 29, 51, 57. My copy looks like it came out of a box in the back of a warehouse. Nice 7“ x 5“ cloth that can slip into the pocket of your coat, print beautifully struck. No.2 in the series. I also have Adam and Eve and Pinch Me in the same format, also republished several times. Penguin brought out a selection in 1972, Dusky Ruth and Other Stories from his various collections. It has a short introductions by Doris Lessing who is a big fan. By the bye is Doris Lessing the worst writer in English ever to have won the Nobel Prize?

The Penguin selection mostly stays clear of the mystical, magical, fabulous stories which are a distinct element in his work. In these times we don’t Adam and Eve it. In that title story Adam and Eve and Pinch Me a man travels in his astral body through his house and thinks that he does it in his corporeal form. There’s a wonderful flowing exalted sense conveyed by the writing and at the same time the stress of the man who tries to communicate with the others who are in a different plane but whether that plane is this sublunar one is not quite clear.

There was Bond (the gardener) tinkering about with some plants a dozen yards in front of him. Suddenly his three children came round from the other side of the house, the youngest boy leading them, carrying in his hand a small sword which was made, not of steel, but of some more brightly shining material; indeed it seemed at one moment to be of gold, and then again of flame, transmuting everything in its neighbourhood into the likeness of flame, the hair of the little girl Eve, a part of Adam’s tunic; and the fingers of the boy Gabriel as he held the sword were like pale tongues of fire.

These volumes are what I call ‘barrowed’ treasure. Never having heard of him I could only find them there. Due a revival.

PS: Adam and Eve and Pinch Me is available to download from Internet Archive A&E and Pinch Me with some extra stories compared to British Edition.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Praxis and Doctrine

It seems to me that I have found what I wanted. When I try to pull it all into a phrase I say 'Man can embody truth but he cannot know it.' I must embody it in the completion of my life.

Yeats wrote this in a letter some days before he died. There is a truth in it that surpasses the theological wittering about Praxis and Doctrine. The meanings that are mined out of the ground of Religion or Yoga, words which have union as their root, are finally abstractions. Even the eternal truths of mathematics are abstractionst according to Bergson who held that lived duration, is real. Duration is merely gestured towards by a recognition of the paradoxes generated by conventional truth. We can always disagree about the meanings that we take out of stated doctrine but the embodied reality comes out of a fundamental union. This is implicit even in the theological acceptance of the basis of doctrine.

However, in the event that the Church might not yet have enunciated a decision, consequent to the conclusions of some universal council, the principles of ecumenicity, antiquity and agreement are to be invoked. In other words, the reliable standard for orthodoxy must be what has been believed in the Church everywhere, always and by all.
(from Cardinal John Henry Newman and the development of doctrine by Fr. Peter Waters)

Sunday, 9 October 2011

A Glastonbury Romance by John Cowper Powys

At the striking of noon on a certain fifth of March, there occurred within a causal radius of Brandon railway station and yet beyond the deepest pools of emptiness between the uttermost stellar systems one of those infinitesimal ripples in the creative silence of the First Cause which always occur when an exceptional stir of heightened consciousness agitates any living organism in this astronomical universe. Something passed at that moment, a wave, a motion, a vibration, too tenuous to be called magnetic, too subliminal to be called spiritual, between the soul of a particular human being who was emerging from a third-class carriage of the twelve-nineteen train from London, and divine-diabolic source of the First Cause of all life.

Is this the oddest and yet quite truthful start to a novel that has ever been written? Scholiasts of recurring heresies will note the Gnostic element but that is but a facet of the ingredients in the cauldron kept bubbling with clippings from The Thorn. To say that it is complex and a worthy proposal in its anfractuosities as a special subject on Mastermind would be to claim that a clock that builds new cogs as required and is lubricated by the best butter is nevertheless a sure chronometer. Nay sir, this novel includes history and concludes it.

There are 1120 pages in all, don't take less, and it would not be giving too much away to say that The End is not a conventional marker but a part of the novel. This requires strategy. Mine is baptism by immersion. Simply allow each paragraph to draw you on to the next and soon you will be attuned to its, and here I doff my cap step back and with a deep bow and flourish say, its cosmic vibrations.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Mohanty on Advaita

I had always taken the aporia of awareness i.e. how the world is somehow in our consciousness as it is, in its reality, as my fundamental orientation. I then moved from that towards an attempt to come to grips with the consciousness itself. One redaction of the problem is that the mental state is transparent, in a sense we see 'through' the mental experience directly to the object. That has an attraction. It is simple but its simplicity evades the multitude of appearances that we are supposed to see through. The unity and singularity of the object must be assumed and therefore we have to expand our account to explain that unity. We know that the object has an identity. How?

Advaita moves in the direction of that expansion but it first begins with an exploration of consciousness as such. The intentionality of consciousness is what strikes one first. If we are not thinking about something it won't be in our minds. If we are not paying attention then we will not take in what is occurring in our physical presence. What we are aware of is a selection. We know what is in our minds. In all modes of consciousness this is known to us immediately without the intermediation of an ego. J.N. Mohanty puts it well in his paper on Consciousness and Knowledge in Indian Philosophy in the journal Philosophy East and West, Vol.29, No.1(jan.'79). can two such things be together, that is, how can pure self-revealing consciousness, whose essence is exhausted by this self-revealing character be also the intentional empirical consciousness, which is of an object and belongs to a subject? Intrinsically, consciousness is objectless and subjectless; owing to avidya, it appears to be of an object and as belonging to a subject. Again avidya is the source of intentionality.

This approach solves the question of whether it is a native or primitive faith that there is an identity of some sort between what is in our minds and the actual object that existed before we turned the light of consciousness on it. Both subject and object arise from the split in primal consciousness. They implicate each other.


Have you noticed that slightly irritating academic locution ‘I suspect’ cropping up a bit or is it just me? Those illative antennae are waving again. Is this a manifestation of timid academic soul, a hedging of bets against positions which are edgy and windswept where a strong gust might pitch you into an abyss of scepticism or radical doubt? Unless you inhabit a position how are you going to feel the force of it? Being a charitable person I reject as unfounded this suspicion as condescension or as a pat on the head, a letting down gently into the pit of the unfounded, the dubious, the inchoate or as a wrinkle on the brow of bland certainty.

Take it down town and book it.

Friday, 7 October 2011

ME CHEETA, the autobiography (as told to James Lever)

James Lever admits that in the middle of the writing of a previous novel that was too beautiful to let go off as though the adhesions would tear too much of his soul away and leave him raw and unable to efface the world; he read Infinite Jest and remained impaled on his couch abandoned to the despair of perfection. But then an editor gave him a deadline and an idea - write the biography of an animal star as though by that animal. Thereby Me Cheeta was born. At first Lever was kept from the limelight, you know what stars are, till it finally leaked out that it was an ‘as told to’ James Lever.

It’s a classic and I’m going to go out on a limb here (don’t bounce up and down) and say that it moves into the region of greatness. No, no, I mean it,Cheeta’s a wonderful person and a beautiful human ape. There’s the standard spoof of the genre which is itself classical Yiddish self-deprecation allied with sprinkles of bombast and comfort pleat ego. Cheeta sees the goings on of the stars and is a favoured guest at their parties with many a salacious aside but there is a genuine pathos in his worship of alpha male Johnny Weismuller. He sees but he doesn’t get the meaning of what his heroes do, a bit like us, and he misses the obnoxiousness of Niven and Flynn and their pranks. His original capture he understands as a rescue from the jungle which is a dangerous place for animals.

You liked Black Beauty you’ll love this. It will touch your heart.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Gissing and The Nether World

George Orwell might have written the biography of George Gissing. He was asked to do so by a publisher in 1946 but he was on his way to the island of Jura and so had to decline the offer. Instead he wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four which is a decent swap. Orwell was born in 1903 the same year that Gissing died and they both lived to the age of 46 each succumbing finally to lung disease. I am relying here on the biography George Gissing: A Life by Paul Delany. Therein the point is made that whereas Orwell took to tramping to research his books on poverty, Gissing merely walked the streets and visited the workshops of Clerkenwell to do research for his novel The Nether World but it could also be maintained that Gissing had no need of sentimental immersion as he had just buried his first wife Nell two weeks before starting that novel. He had first met and fallen in love with her when he was a brilliant young student and she a young prostitute. Though he, through the multiple scholarships which he had won, was well off, for a student, still that was not enough to keep her off the streets and he began to steal from his fellows at Owens College (later Manchester University). The month in goal that he received for his crime was the beginning of his real research into the nether world. Expelled from college in disgrace he went to America that place of dubious sanctuary but when he came back after a year took up with Nell again. His plan was to turn her into a ladylike companion but she kept up with her trade and her drinking throughout their marriage. Delany suggests that she infected him with syphilis, the disease that finally killed her and may have exacerbated the weakness of his lungs.

There are many of us who have been scorched by the fire of a fatal relationship but have come out the other side with a here be dragons map engramatically engraved on our brains . Gissing continued to explore that territory. What he needed was a nice intelligent work-girl that he could mould to a suitable companion. His second wife went mad and fought with the servants.

By being expelled from Owens College he had lost his chance to rise in the world. He later wrote in a letter:

The life of a Fellow at Oxford or Cambridge is, I should think, almost ideal. He has his man-servant, his meals either in private or at the public table, an atmosphere of culture and peace.

The way that the clever student can con his lessons well and deliver them back in the same diction as the professor, that sincere flattery that brings academic honour, could be the very mimesis that hobbles his style. It’s not there all the time, that constraint that makes him seem like a foreigner that was attempting the speech of a class always beyond him and that he could never be sure he was getting right. There is a concept of what is ‘writerly’ that stifles the life of his prose sometimes but I do not deny that this may be a function of his hurry. He began the novel on 19th.of March and finished it on the 18th. of July. In our more leisurely days that would probably be the time allotted for a first very rough draft .

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It by Maile Meloy

I was watching this arts show, last year or the year before, The View, which ought to be called The Dim View because nobody ever likes anything much. Then a terrible and unprecedented thing happened; one after the other they agreed that Maile Meloy's Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It was just very good. This is to be read. And they were right. There's that clear and distinct prose that allows the occasional unstressed effect to drop you through the story levels like a fast lift. In Travis. B. Chet Moran who through a touch of polio and horse wrangling accidents has a limp.

His father drove him to Great Falls, where the doctors put a steel rod in his good leg from hip to knee. From then on, he walked as though he were turning to himself to ask a question.

His gait is almost a mirror of his mind. He has got into the way of taking on winter ranch minding jobs in Montana which he likes but he senses that he is getting too solitary.

He got afraid of himself that winter; he sensed something dangerous that would break free if he kept so much alone.

For a while he takes an office job in Billings but he realizes that his hip is not up to all that sitting around so again he takes a winter feeding job.

He made it through Christmas, with packages and letters from his mother, but in January he got afraid of himself again. The fear was not particular. It began as a buzzing feeling around his spine, a restlessness without a specific aim.

He's about 21, too young to be talking to his horse so he goes into town and cruises around for some pinochle action or something. There are lights on at the school and people going in so he joins them. He signs up for a class on school law. Beth Travis a young lawyer is giving the class. He talks to her after the class and thus a sort of relationship begins which is complicated by the fact that she has to drive back to the town where she has her day job, a nine and one half hour trip.

He wondered how he might court a girl who was older, and a lawyer, a girl who lived clear across the state and couldn't think about anything but that distance. He felt a strange sensation in his chest, but it wasn't the restlessness he had felt before.

Maloy has the ability to get into the mind of the young man. She's a friendly anima. Travis. B. goes on to its denouement with that accumulation of detail that builds a believable world.

Only a couple of the stories in the collection of 11 drop below a very high standard. If you like the short story form especially the American short story where they do what Ernie said they should, leave something out that only the author knows is left out, this is a treat.