Oh how do I begin? Chicxulub is such a simple story. A man and his wife has the phone ring one night. Their daughter has been in an accident. Everything in the story is like a thunderstorm, sweeping me, like a meteor, hitting with resonating impact. Like Chicxulub, an asteroid that collided with the earth 65 millions years ago and is believed to wipe out the Dinosaurs. Yes that’s what Chicxulub is. For some reason prior to reading I thought Chicxulub was in the same family as Cthulhu…
For such a simple story, I could not put it down. I know, you’re thinking “Why put it down, it’s only a short story, you can finish it in one sitting”. But not me, I put down short story and I don’t read anything in a single sitting. This time I walked from my station to my bus stop reading, then from my bus stop to my office, reading, while walking, with runny nose, because I get runny nose when I force myself not to cry. The tears run into my nose.
I was so surprised of how the story shook me so. I wasn’t ready for such an emotional piece. I was going into the story thinking it might be fantasy. How it got to me I don’t really know. I read a short by Raymond Carver a while back with a rather similar plot: husband and wife has their kid involved in an accident (titled A Small, Good Thing), and it wasn’t even close in giving me the same level of emotional impact. Boyle’s writing just got to me. Electrifying I say. Or could it be because the story is interleaved with comets and asteroids? (I’ll let you find out how it is so yourself).
This is my first T. C. Boyle and I would love to read more. But half of me worries that nothing else of his works will be as good. That’s what I thought every time I finished a fantastic mind-blowingly good book or short story. “Nothing else will ever be as good. This is it.” I would slump to my seat with overwhelming sadness.
And yet I find more. Not very often. But I do.
Ah.. such is the journey of a reader.
Chicxulub was published by The New Yorker in 2004. You can read it online.
Short Saturday is the time when I talk about awesome or not so awesome short stories I read during the week(s). Join me in my journey? Michelle does.