This week’s published work is by Aimee Bender, who has written four books: three short story collections and the award winning novel “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake”.  Bull is actually a sequel to a short story from her first collection, “The Girl in the Flammable Skirt”, called The Ring.

“Bull” takes us on a journey through the mind and relationship of a woman married to a robber, who is more interested in everything else than in her.  Starved for attention, she tries to catch his notice by taking over his brother’s job controlling a bull marionette and making a spectacle at a bullfight.

Questions to think about when reading this story:

  1. Grammar and punctuation are always a popular topic at MUG meetings, as is the idea that you can break rules once you know what they are.  Bender subverts some punctuation rules in this story; how does her method affect the way the story is told?  Do you think it’s an effective tool?
  2. The story is told with a strong first person voice.  This limits the perspective of the reader, so we don’t really know what the other characters are thinking or feeling.  What do you think about the way Bender builds our view of the characters in the story – both the narrator and the others?
  3. This story ends without any clear resolution to the external conflict.  Is that ok?  How would you change that?  Is there a resolution to the story at all?
  4. If this story were submitted by one of us, what would be the one thing you would comment on?

Leave a comment and let us know what you think!



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