I sometimes rediscover writers whose work I'd enjoyed years before and nearly forgotten.
David Gates is the latest example. Some time ago, I loved his short story collection"The Wonders of the Invisible World," but didn't follow his career afterward.
His short story, "Texas," in the New Yorker's last issue renewed my appreciation for his work. I rarely read New Yorker short stories, or much of anything else in the magazine these days, unless I discover a familiar name like Tom McGuane, or, now, Gates.
The story about a disgruntled aging artist who at the end of the story makes a trip to Denton, Texas, to visit his daughter eerily echoed a journey I made to Denton several years ago.
Unlike Gates' character, I flew to Denton to say farewell to an old friend who was near death. The trip from the Dallas-Fort Worth airport to Denton as described by Gates nearly matched mine. The suburban house seemed similar to the one I visited. Different from the story was my experience of driving back to the airport through the swirling snow after my friend had died.
Reading the story, I wondered what legerdemain Gates used to raise the story's emotional intensity. Gates' language is straightforward, and none of the characters, including the artist, is admirable. Yet, I felt an attachment to the characters, and wanted to discover what happened to them by the story's end.
My guess is that Gates makes his scenes visual, as in a movie. While not much action occurs, I had a mental picture of the story's unfolding.
Now I want to search for Gates work I've missed, and pay attention to him in the future.