Writing Magazine

Coffee and cake

READ THE STORY AT: writ.rs/elsewhere

This month’s story features a character who is struggling with her identity on a number of levels. Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by ZZ Packer follows Dina who has moved from Baltimore to take up a place at Yale. She isn’t always a straightforwardly likeable character, but she is intriguing. Be aware that it has some strong themes and language.

The story explores Dina’s identity, the issues she has with her identity and her relationships with other people. Before we look at the story, I just want to draw your attention to the title. It is quite a long way through the story before we realise the significance of the title, (spoiler: it’s not really about coffee) but it does in many ways sum up Dina. There is a pivotal point in the story where Dina’s psychiatrist tells her that she is ‘pretending’. This links into the idea that she is always wanting to be elsewhere.

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