Allegra Goodman’s story “Apple Cake” in The New Yorker

I really liked this story, and enjoyed reading some comments over at Mookse, so I even posted, fearfully, my own comment, reproduced below.  Enjoy the story (which you can read online at Mookse).

I’ve been a long time quiet Mookse reader… the insights here are wonderful for an “amateur” short story reader like me.  I think there was more to the story than a portrayal of dying and sisters… and I was hoping Betsy would uncover the signs and symbols… in particular, when Goodman suddenly shifts to a confusion of fairy tale and actual story as Phoebe (gold hair trailing) and Christian (deerslayer) enter the scene, and Jeanne breaks out laughing…. are we supposed to start interpreting the whole story as the endless rehashing of meta-stories… ?  the great circle of life as the three little pigs have their houses blown down… the apple cake itself, magically transforming those gathered at the deathbed… the last paragraph, with its wonderful mixture of the prosaic (a shelter dog?) and deep story (the evil “stepsisters” keep fighting, even as they gather at “Singing Beach”)!  I wonder if the whole story isn’t a deliberate mashup of fairytales, or Shakespeare, as you suggest, or the Muses, somehow?

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
This entry was posted in Book and film reviews. Bookmark the permalink.