Acclaimed novelist, short story writer, and poet, David Huddle captivates us with a new collection. Not: A Trio is a sequence of three related stories that, taken together, form a unified work of fiction. This faceted approach is especially suited to a work that reveals the intricate connections among Danny Marlow, Claire McClelland, and Ben McClelland.
Danny, Claire and Ben are thoughtful people who know each other well—yet hardly at all. Danny narrates the first story, introducing the reader to Claire, a therapist who has, he says “lived a life that would drop most men in their tracks.” The second story, told in the third person, explores the character of Claire’s second husband Ben These two men and their stories set the stage for the appearance of Claire in the third and most powerful story. Claire informs the reader at the outset that a crisis looms: “At any rate, I’m not going to be able to go on with the life I have so carefully constructed for myself here in town.”
Huddle is especially concerned with the forces that separate these singular individuals from each other—and from themselves—as well as with the romantic and sexual energy pulling Danny and Claire together and with the wistful intimacy briefly held between Claire and Ben. In the process, the book also draws a darkly humorous picture of small-town life in contemporary Vermont.
Critics have praised David Huddle for his skill in creating individual voices and selves that work together to reveal intimately connected lives. He has done so once again in Not: A Trio, leaving the reader with what feels like a secret understanding of these three people and the forces that move them.
DAVID HUDDLE is Professor of English at the University of Vermont and the Bread Loaf School of English. He is the author of Intimates: A Book of Stories, Summer Lake: New and Selected Poems, A David Huddle Reader, and The Story of a Million Years, a novel that was named a Distinguished Book of the Year by Esquire and a Best Book of the Year by the Los Angeles Times Book Review in 1999. His fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers as well as in Best American Short Stories.
Finalist for the 2000 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award