I have no idea what the author was going for here. Was this all a plan for a TV episode? Were we supposed to ponder the racial stereotyping that goes on in media? Was this an examination of shallow, suburban lives? A sci-fi yarn about time travel?
I had hoped we were at least going to get a good twist at the end, but instead we get a whole bunch of exposition about what Emmett couldn’t possibly know (we’re even told he can’t know any of it), and then he just sees the boy go away with the satchel.
This wasn’t even fun, it literally serves no purpose. And it feels more as if the whole story is an idea for a story that was never fleshed out. Maybe the writer is trying to parallel the artistic struggle of the writer character – the episodic structure of the story mirrors how TV shows today are a series of multiple story-lines edited together fast enough to make you forget there’s no substance to any of them – but there isn’t enough in the story to convince me that there is anything really all that deep going on here. There’s no character “real” enough to feel like we can identify with any real struggle, be it race, or time travel issues.
Maybe I missed something, but just because the New Yorker publishes something doesn’t mean it’s going to be good.
I did like the line, “The warm commotion of a party.”, but that’s all this story felt like: “The warm commotion of a party”, heard from far away.