The Magazine

Workshop Lit

Fiction in the voice of consciousness-raising.

May 25, 2009, Vol. 14, No. 34 • By MARY GRABAR
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The one story that has the most potential to plumb the tragic element, of a young wife's selfishness that leads inadvertently to her husband's death, ends predictably, despite authorial protestations to the contrary. To wit, the last paragraph of "Watershed":

There is no ending, no neatness in this story. There never really is, where water is concerned. It is wild, febrile, kind, ambiguous; it is dark and carries the mud, and it is clear and the cleanest thing. Too much of it kills us, and not enough kills us, and it is what makes us, mostly.

Two more sentences continue the meditation--on water.

Groff does what too many writers do today: She offers clever meandering meditations on the ultimately inconsequential. When such a philosophy is combined with sermonettes on political correctness, the reader asks herself why she should bother to read contemporary fiction.

Mary Grabar is a writer in Atlanta.