This story can be read in the December 21, 2015 issue of The New Yorker.
This review can also be found at The Mookse and the Gripes.
First Line: "Monday evening, 10:30. Thomas is sitting on the sofa with his laptop, reading for work. Mary has been talking to a friend on Skype."
Last Line: "In the playroom, the two children are wondering whether there's anything they can do about their parents."
Tim Parks again? Really? Was there nothing else? Did the editors of The New Yorker find this to be such an amazing piece? Are they pushing Tim Parks' new novel (it includes this story as well as "The Vespa", the fiction published in the magazine just a couple of months ago)?
I did not like "The Vespa", and the feeling remains the same with "Bedtimes". The writing is simple, and as Mr. Parks declares himself, "mechanical" with "monosyllabic repetition". This was his artistic choice! He says he hopes readers find this story "funny"...
Sorry, Mr. Parks. I found no humor - no ascerbic sarcasm, no raw irony, nothing laugh-out-loud, and certainly no wry internal grimace.
"Bedtimes" has potential to be expanded, and there's a lot of "showing", but this story feels like a catalog of stage directions. It is dry and unoriginal. I cannot connect with such two dimensional characters - I feel nothing for them.
I am glad this tale was so short...
Photo credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d5/Cocker_spaniel_angielski_zloty_photoshop.jpg