Harlow explains it so much better than I can (see below).
Author: N. E. Houston
Publication Info: Summer 1990 — Dialogue, Volume 23, Number 2
Submitted by: Harlow Clark
Why?: Harlow writes:
“The author gave this story an unindexable title because he has all these story collections with titles like Nothing Very Important and Other Stories, and The Voice of the Moon and Other Songs of the Night, but none of them has a story called And. He intended the story to be a bridge between The Voice of the Moon, a story by the main character of And, and Other Songs of the Night, the character’s master’s thesis.
The collection the story belongs to is unfinished. The design is to alternate stories about Amos Corbin with stories he writes about his experience. So in one story, “Shoulder to the Wheel” he imagines himself as Sisyphus, then writes a story called “Sisyphus” based on that moment in Ovid’s Metamorphoses when Orpheus comes into the underworld seeking Eurydice and all the torments stop because his song is so beautiful they can’t not listen. (It’s not as boring or erudite as it sounds.)
The author only needed 90 pages for his own thesis, so he took several he had written and used them, and swears he’ll finish the others some day.
The story reads like a nightmare of poop and pee and unrequited desire near the end of a semester. One letter to the editor said, “and baby makes three” but I suspect it’s more (or also) a story about a man whose marriage is in deep trouble but he can only bear to think about it in his dreams. I think the opening sequence, with Amos trying to get to the great and spacious building is his wife’s view of him, seeping into his dreams.
(Way the by, the author’s initials stand for Nathaniel Edward, Nathaniel being that Israelite of old in whom there was no guile, like unto Edward Partridge.)”
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