The Night In Question

The Night in Question

The Night In QuestionThis guy was probably only a couple classrooms away from me while I was reading Ibsen plays at Syracuse. I never saw the guy, and the only thing I know about him I learned from the movie, This Boy’s Life. That was the film based on the autobiographical account of his life from the book of the same name. This, The Night in Question, is a collection of short stories based on the everyday interactions of human beings. Written much in the vain of Raymond Carver, Wolff’s stories are based more on atmosphere and set-up than on plot and energy. Like Carver, we get to take a peek into the lives of our neighbors and friends as they live their lives behind closed doors. Missing from the stories, though, is the overwhelming creepiness, sorrow and hopelessness that make Carver’s narratives so damn memorable. Of course I have the attention span and memory of a gnat, so short stories are both a blessing and a curse; I can remember the beginning of the story by the end, but have very little recollection of the entire collection after reading the last page. This could honestly be the best book of short stories ever written, and I would have no idea. But, in my humble opinion, there was little to distinguish this collection, and it left no mark on me as others have.