The setting for the first short story in Honeydew, “Tenderfoot,” is Paige’s pedicure parlor. Bobby, a college instructor who lives across the street, befriends his neighbor but secretly spies on Paige and her clients from his upstairs window. His torment revolves around a car accident and his “failure to act.” The pedicurist becomes his confessor, but the mutual resolve of the story neatly ties them together while leaving the reader with a thoughtful problem.
After reading Laura Van Den Berg’s review in the New York Times – Edith Pearlman’s Honeydew, I skipped to the two stories she had noted: “Honeydew” and “Castle 4.”
“In the title story, the headmistress of Caldicott Academy finds herself unexpectedly pregnant. Her lover, the father of her child, also happens to be the (married) father of a student who is mired in the dark wilderness of anorexia. The affair tumbles ahead; the headmistress suspects she will be forced to resign once her pregnancy is revealed; the starving student studies the stomachs of ants…”
…“Castle 4” illuminates the intersecting fates of the characters — an anesthesiologist and his doomed patient among them — connected to a hospital that “was named Memorial Hospital but was soon referred to as the Castle…”
I’ve deferred the other stories for a while, when I need something short to get me going.
Now, I want to read a novel.