"The Ordinary Son" by Ron Carlson.
In "The Ordinary Son", Ron Carlson has created one of the blandest characters ever put on paper, and therein lies the story's peculiar power.
Reed Landers is the son of a NASA scientist and a grassroots poet. In a family of geniuses, he is alone in his commonness. Nothing particularly meritorious underlies his conduct; his intelligence is average, his needs superficial. Reed's siblings blossom under a strict moral diet of work and unheralded 'sacrifice'. They eat sardines and crackers for dinner, refuse to mow their yard, and do without a refrigerator. Meanwhile, Reed, meticulously normal,…
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