Title: Oblivion by Calvin Klein
Author: Christopher Fowler
In: Naked City (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Urban fantasy
Dates read: 13th July 2019
Format: Short story
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
5th sentence, 74th page: Helen really wanted a cigarette.
Helen just wants to find the oblivion of consumerism that her marriage has led her to crave. But, when she finds out that she might not be able to get her fix, she decides to something a little bit drastic…
I always like to say that I’m not that materialistic. But then you walk into my house and see the walls of books, and it becomes obvious that in some ways, I am incredibly materialistic. Which meant that this story was not only a really fun read, but also a somewhat uncomfortable one. It spoke to trends in society and what we perceive as needs and how they could be our eventual downfall. As I said, very uncomfortable.
This story quickly went from kind of amusing, to kind of uncomfortable, to completely horrifying in very quick order. At the beginning, it is obvious that Helen has a bit of an issue and needs to deal with her own personal life. Quickly it becomes apparent that it’s more than a little issue and the woman is getting desperate. And then she does the desperate thing. Which makes you wonder how far we would go for our materialistic / capitalist fix…
Although this story made me kind of question many of my own motives and decisions, it was still fun. And the ending provided a glimmer of hope to the story as Helen trots off towards a new future, with a new hope and understanding of just what true happiness and need are all about.