There’s about three or four stories in this novel that function the same way as “The Babysitter”, the most famous and probably best story in this collection. This story takes place on a typical suburban night where the kids are at home with a babysitter, the mom and dad are at a neighbor’s party, and the babysitter’s boyfriend and friend are plotting to come over for some fun. But then the story slices up the various possible narrative threads and plays them all out one after another and after another. What this looks like is that as the story moves forward in time, the various things that could happen, all happen, which of course means that none of it happens. And so as the reader, we’re forced to live through all the various possibilities and horrors and hilarious moments, while fully understanding that none of them matter at all. It’s interesting way to look at a story. And like I said, several of these stories occur in the collection.
The other primary kind of story that happens in this collection is a kind of retelling of an otherwise famous story like Casablanca or Noah. The difference usually involves the story playing out in funnier or more honest (broken from the conventions of narrative) or in the case of the Casablanca it becomes a rounding out of the Ric and Ilsa’s sexual relationship, the kind of chaste elisions that movies are famous for making.
Regardless, I imagine this one isn’t for everyone, but the Babysitter is very good.