Scarcity by Kate Genet is the short story of a painter, Teresa, and her relationship with a much younger girl, Scarcity. Within the first few pages Genet gives a good description of the artist, but the reader still has’t really gotten a clear picture of who the main character is yet. She seems to be completely engrossed in her work and still somehow uninterested. She is obviously heckled about her orientation by the people in her community and when Scarcity becomes a part of her life her awareness of this is sure heightened. Scarcity is young and headstrong. She knows she wants to be a part of Teresa’s life and isn’t afraid to pursue the much older woman. Teresa is attracted to her and Genet makes sure her reader knows this – almost to the point of discomfort. Although Scarcity is close to eighteen and Teresa’s age is never given, the age difference inferred in Teresa’s hesitation gave me personal discomfort. The description of physical intimacy is mild when one considers the genre; however, the dialogue and body language of both characters are filled with sexual tension. This made finishing the book almost awkward.
The story, however, is not without merit. The relationship the two women share is sweet and caring, despite the awkwardness of the age gap. Scarcity is fun and lighthearted despite her rough background and she brings out in Teresa a lightness – a break from her serious demeanor. Scarcity and Teresa truly become friends and even though the girl pushes for more, Teresa maintains some distance. Scarcity is surely a shameless flirt, but Teresa is shy and unsure about her feelings. Perhaps this comes from the age difference, but it quickly becomes obvious that the hesitation Teresa has is deeper than that. For me, this is what makes the story worth reading – and perhaps a story worth continuing on the part of the author. I felt like I had just begun to understand the true dynamic of the charcaters beyond their age and the story ended. I suppose it is not for the reader to judge the choices of the characters and their relationship, but I will certainly judge the author in wishing she had written more than a scarce 42 pages (electronic) on such a potentially enthralling couple. To each her own, I found myself saying in the end and wishing Genet more inspiration concerning the story of an uninspired artist and a troubled girl.