Alice Munro’s latest story in the New Yorker is called Deep-Holes. You can read it here.
To me the sheer scope of this piece ends up getting in its own way. The story spans at least a couple decades, and its characters (a family with three children) pass through time so quickly that it’s difficult to get a lock on their personalities, ambitions and perceptions. The story is a third person limited from the perspective of Sally, the mother of the three children and spouse of an academic geologist. Munro’s prose is crisp as always and I like the theme of the estranged favorite son, but some of the plot points make these characters turn more quickly than I feel comfortable believing: an accident changes a boy forever, a sudden death in the family is received differently than one might expect, a dramatic fire (Munro’s own adjective) brings the family back together. The story does possess one of the more satisfyingly ambiguous endings I’ve read, but overall the piece still ends up being a little too cold from all the temporal distance it needs to cover.