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“The Woman in the Club Car” / Thomas Tessier

from Cemetery Dance, Issue #60 / May 2009
Reviewed by: Anthony J. Rapino

From the first sentence of “The Woman in the Club Car,” the reader knows where they are headed; it is in the title after all. And maybe for this reason the first few chapters initially seem like a diversion. We meet Phil, who is having lunch in Manhattan with his literary agent. Phil is feeling older. He’s recently divorced, doesn’t like his new life in Connecticut, and has trouble selling his articles.

Of his writing, Phil thinks, “Attention Spans are dropping, people want more instantaneous, impressionistic writing.” While this line refers to Phil’s drop in sales, one also infers Tessier’s allusion to his own feelings on the state of readership, and possibly this story’s slow start.

After a night of heavy drinking, Phil arrives at Grand Central and enters the club car where he meets Rachael. Through conversation more back story comes to light, and the first paragraphs are seamlessly tied into the larger story, dissolving the notion of a diversion.

Although the sense we know where the story is headed never alleviates, there’s an undeniable pleasure in reading it. The atmosphere Thomas Tessier creates leaves the reader enchanted, invoking a rare moment when you forget you’re outside the story and become a silent observer within it.

As the last line unfolds, many questions linger. The first reaction is to flip back to the first page and experience the story once again. The second is to write to Mr. Tessier and politely request a novel based on his story. The characters are fleshed out so well, it’d be a disservice to imprison them within this single short tale.

Purchase Cemetery Dance #60 with “The Woman in the Club Car” by Thomas Tessier.

Posted on Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at 01:56PM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

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