A Short Story For Saturday

This week’s short story, Andre Dubus’ “Killings” (pdf), is notable not just for the way it portrays the way one family grieves, but for being turned into a brilliant film by director Todd Field, In the Bedroom. We suggest reading the story – it’s not long – then watching the movie counterpart. Here’s how the story begins:

On the August morning when Matt Fowler buried his youngest son, Frank, who had lived for twenty-one years, eight months, and four days, Matt’s older son, Steve, turned to him as the family left the grave and walked between their friends, and said: ‘I should kill him.’ He was twenty-eight, his brown hair starting to thin in front where he used to have a cowlick. He bit his lower lip, wiped his eyes, then said it again. Ruth’s arm, linked with Matt’s, tightened; he looked at her. Beneath her eyes there was swelling from the three days she had suffered. At the limousine Matt stopped and looked back at the grave, the casket, and the Congregationalist minister who he thought had probably had a difficult job with the eulogy though he hadn’t seemed to, and the old funeral director who was saying something to the six young pallbearers. The grave was on a hill and overlooked the Merrimack, which he could not see from where he stood; he looked at the opposite bank, at the apple orchard with its symmetrically planted flees going up a hill.

Keep reading here. You can also find “Killings” in Dubus’ Selected Stories. Rent In the Bedroom here. Peruse previous SSFSs here.