ZZ Packer

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere | ZZ Packer | Literary Roadhouse Ep 57

Discussion Notes: Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

Next week’s story is Switzerland Today by Michael Chabon

Rated: Adult themes but does not contain adult language

This week the Literary Roadhouse crew enjoyed discussing, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by ZZ Packer. This story was published in 2000 and brought ZZ Packer attention as a debut short story author. In Drinking Coffee Elsewhere ZZ Packer tackles questions of race, class and sexuality through the eyes of a low-income young black woman in her freshman semester at Yale. While Maya and Gerald both enjoyed the story a great deal, Anais and Rammy did have some issues. The more distant writing was a double edged sword. While smooth and well written, the main character is emotionally shut down and this is mirrored in the narrative.

This story made Maya think about the high rates of smart low income minority students that quit college after working for their lifetime to attend high end universities. Anais enjoyed the substance of the story but chafed against the tone. She felt the story was about all the layers of protection we put up and the stories we tell about ourselves.

Talking with Anais and Rammy made Maya lower her rating. While our comments made Rammy’s rating go up. This is an author that Anais, Maya and Gerald want to continue reading.

Don’t forget to rate the story! For the history of our goofy system, see Anais’ post “Read Short Stories or Ray Bradbury Cries.” On a scale of 1-6 Bradberries, how do you rate Drinking Coffee Elsewhere? Tell us in the comments below or via voicemail, and we will give the final tally on the next episode. We are also in desperate need of iTunes reviews. Please search Literary Roadhouse in iTunes and leave reviews for all of our shows.