Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage. E.L. Doctorow’s “Edgemont Drive” was originally published in the April 26, 2010 issue of The New Yorker.
I haven’t read anything by E.L. Doctorow before, though I’ve always felt I should. I have March on my shelf — have had it for quite a while on my shelf. This story didn’t convince me to start reading Doctorow immediately, but it didn’t convince me that I should disregard him either. It was so-so.
The story is told completely through dialogue. There are no indications on who is speaking, though it is not necessarily hard to follow (there were only a couple of times I had to go back to figure out who was speaking). It isn’t a terribly effective method because, to me, it calls attention to itself and doesn’t offer any immediacy. Plus, some of the dialogue felt overwrought (I don’t say unrealistic because I don’t care if dialogue is unrealistic — I can read Roth’s characters speaking all day long).
So what is this dialogue about? The setting is a house in the suburbs, currently occupied by a husband, a wife, and their three sons. Initially it is a bit earie because a man has been parking his old car in front of the house for the past few days. Turns out the man grew up in the house and, when he married, attempted to start his own family there.
I won’t disclose where the story goes because, honestly, the stranger’s motives and his insinuation into the home are what made this story interesting, and to see that revealed in dialogue is time decently spent. In the end, though, I am quick to look for something else rather than dwell with the story longer.