|Dan Stolar read some of his new fiction, entitled “Hymie and Ruth,” on Tuesday May 25, 2010. Josh Covell, an MAWP student, writes his thoughts on the new story. Josh is graduating from the program in June.|
With a whiteboard of Yiddish translations behind him, Professor Dan Stolar was brave enough to give a reading of his new fiction piece, the as-yet-unpublished “Hymie and Ruth.” From the moment he started to read aloud, it was apparent that he had captured a familiarity and bittersweetness with the titular elderly characters Hymie and Ruth Schoenberg. Hymie, who feels the effects of his impaired mental state daily, and Ruth, who struggles to keep up with her husband physically, both feel lived in, full and rich. They read like family–Professor Stolar’s or even our own–thanks to the striking level of personal detail in each of the characters. They wade through genuine moments of contentment and restlessness, humor and heartache: Hymie cracks wise and spouts dated one-liners; Ruth plays along with her husband’s delusions (and takes advantage of his dementia) when she ghostwrites romantic letters that Hymie thinks are from another woman. There is comedy there, sure, but there is also the harsh, sad realization that time has caught up with them. These two characters continue to suffer their physical and mental obstacles to just maintain a little happiness and normalcy between them, and each piece of their relationship works beautifully together.