Thursday, April 26, 2012

Books read in 2012: No. 35 -- In Love with Eleanor Rigby

by Stacey Cochran

Started: April 26
Finished: April 26

Notes: I've been aware of author Stacey Cochran for quite some time now, but I had yet to read any of his work. Thinking it was time I did so, I thought I'd start with this short. Obviously the title, a reference to The Beatles song, drew my attention right away.

Mini review: This little story is deserving of much pondering. At first glance it would seem to be a fairly simple boy-meets-girl story, but it is much more complex, heartfelt and thoughtful than such a facile notion. The main character strikes me as a bit like a late-20s version of Holden Caulfield, though that could be my own mind fooling me because of a mention of Salinger early in this tale. The title I find intriguing. Because of the connection to The Beatles song, I can't help but draw comparisons between McCartney's Rigby character and Cochran's two major characters presented here. It would seem natural to expect Tabitha, the female heroine, to represent a form of the Eleanor Rigby character in some fashion, but that doesn't quite feel right to me. If anyone, Joe, the male protagonist, strikes me as a character more befitting of the McCartney song. And then there's the fact "Eleanor Rigby" the song is one not only about loneliness, which this story touches upon, but is ultimately about death and potentially a loss of hope, which isn't necessarily the case with Cochran's story (though I don't want to give too much away). "In Love with Eleanor Rigby" is a complex tale, but not so complex it cannot be enjoyed by the average reader; much like the song, it is enjoyable lyrically while also containing hidden and not-so-hidden depths. An inclusion of a character with the author's last name can't but make one wonder about the personal history behind this story, to ask. One wants not necessarily to ask how much presented here was "real," but how much of it was "truth." I'm thinking quite a bit. Bravo to the writer. A piece of fiction hasn't given me this much to think about since ... hell, I don't know, maybe Tolstoy or John Gardner.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

Hum, I should have a look at this one.