Lost in the City

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Edward P. Jones’s namesake story “Lost in the City,” in his collection of short stories, Lost in the City, is set in USA’s capital, Washington, D. C. and it is based on the story of a woman who has received word that her mother has died. Lydia Walsh is a successful attorney. She is also lonely and desperate. When the hospital calls in the middle of the night stating her mother has died “…twenty minutes ago…” Lydia instructs them to not to “…put that sheet over her face until I get there…”. Lydia then proceeds to tell the man beside whom she’s been sleeping, a person whose name she cannot remember and appears ignorant of the fact that her mother has died. In between her preparation to leave and the arrival of the taxi Lydia takes two shots of cocaine, “…One line,’ she said. ‘One line and no more...’ with the gold razor blade she spread out the cocaine on the black marble tray and inhaled a line…”; an action she repeats several times once inside the cab. What transpires in between are snapshots of Lydia’s times with her mother intermingled with recollections of past times with the man beside whom she was sleeping, juxtaposed to the person with whom she lost her virginity, a man that Lydia recalls, “…. for the thirty days during the month of her birthday…sent her the reddest roses she had seen up to then: one on the first day, two on the second…an so on…”. The cab arrives and Lydia informs the driver that her mother has died. Once inside the taxi Lydia instructs him to, “…get me lost in the city…I’ll pay you. I have the money…Try ever so hard…”. The cabbie obeys though dumbfounded that her requested destination is not to the hospital where her mother, “…lies moldering…” Yet the sights along the way of getting “…lost in the city…” take Lydia Walsh ever so closer to home—into the emotional space of remembrance. Lydia recalls a trip she paid for, and made with her mother to”… the Holy Land…” What follows are memories of her father who had to...
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