Say Never

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Summary

There is no strong linear plot in "Say Never," as the story is separated into narrative accounts from different characters in the story. The driving force of the story, however, is Lenny's infidelity toward his wife, Bonnie. Lenny Tagus, a post-doctoral professor at Northwestern University, is having an affair with Carlina Rentaria-Cruz, his brother Mike's girlfriend. He reveals this affair to his family and intimate friends (except his wife and Mike) through a letter. Although Mike is unaware of the affair, he is troubled with how Carlina's been acting. In scenes of just dialogue, Mikey tells these feelings to Louis. Mr. Labov also has several narrative scenelets, which mostly consist of his actions and thoughts toward Mrs. Tagus. It is implied that Mr. Labov and Mrs. Tagus were included in the two million Jews who immigrated from Eastern Europe to the U.S. in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Because of Lenny's letter Mrs. Tagus experiences a great deal of anguish, which manifests itself as stomach pain. By the end of the story Bonnie and Mikey have found out about Lenny's affair with Carlina.

Characters

  • Mr. Labov
  • Mrs. Tagus
  • Lenny Tagus, Mrs. Tagus's son
  • Bonnie Tagus, Lenny's wife
  • Mike Tagus, Lenny's brother
  • Louis, Mike's friend
  • Carlina Rentaria-Cruz, lover of Mike and Lenny

Themes/Motifs

Loneliness

Voice

The writing is slightly different for each section, delineated and titled by a main character(s) for that section. In Labov's sections, the voice is simple first-person narrative. For Mikey and Louis, all the reader gets is dialogue. For Lenny (all but one of whose sections are titled "Len") the reader is given a sort of first-person narration, but it is often poetic and very stream of consciousness.

Context

Criticism