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The story of George Saunders’s Victory Lap is written in a style that makes reading feel more like watching through a slideshow of the events. It has relatively fast paced scenes from beginning to end. There are a lot of changes in point of view, making it almost feel like there is more than one story. Indeed, it could be the author showing us the quick ascension from childhood to adulthood, with the climax of the story being the kidnapping.

Sometimes, it is hard to decipher what I am reading because of the prose.  The author’s choice in names also indicates that they are typical and normal, just your average kids living a typical life. We never get a good glimpse of the characters’ physical appearance, but we can assume that both Kyle and Alison are at least 12 or 13. Nobody would put up for a teenager a chores list where he can accumulate points. Certainly, no one would propose a twenty-minute television watch as a reward for accomplishing his chores.

Later in the story, adults are referred to as “grown-ups” from Kyle’s point of view, so it is safe to assume that Kyle isn’t at least a teen. Alison’s imagination of the talking fawn in Becca’s voice is also strange, even surreal. Yet this little snippet suggests Alison’s age. The sudden rising point in the story comes out of the blue, what with Alison(?) being kidnapped by Kenny, who is most likely a pedophile. Here is where the point of view and prose leaves me confused, as at first, I think Kyle helps Kenny with kidnapping Alison.

One Response to “George Saunders, “Victory Lap””

  1. Yue: The story begins, “Three days shy of her fifteenth birthday, Alison…” And we learn that she and Kyle grew up together. So while it may seem far too controlling for a parent to treat his teenaged son the way Kyle’s father treats him — I think it’s clear Saunders wants us to reach precisely this conclusion — there’s no doubt about how old the characters are.

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