Short Stories All the Time

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... a few of my thoughts about 900, mostly contemporary, short stories.
Showing posts with label Adams. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Adams. Show all posts

04 July, 2016

Alice Adams, "At the Beach"

This omniscient viewpoint story explores several people on vacation at a Mexican beach resort. The main couple of interest are elderly and elegant. It's told in present tense and either an omniscient POV or a shifting third-person POV. There's a group of people from Chicago, one of whom is recently widowed, almost widowed; she was technically separated at the time of her husband's death but her friends don't know that. Then there's a couple who are having an affair; he's married to someone else and is supposed to be on a business trip. Then the interest of everyone is the elegant, elderly, and quiet couple who have a medical emergency toward the end of the story. There's not much plot in the story. Mostly, we peek into the habits and attitudes of each group at the resort.

Alice Adams, "Berkeley House"

Charlotte's third step-mother notifies her that Charlotte's childhood home is going to be sold. Charlotte becomes upset and filled with nostalgic anguish. It's revealed that Charlotte's step-mothers and her father, Ian, were emotionally cruel and never really loved her and always found her suspicious. Her mother had died when she was only six years old. Charlotte is an artist, had lived in Paris, and then in San Francisco, across the bay from her childhood home on Grizzly Peak Boulevard in Berkeley. She shares with her boyfriend, Lyman, how she felt about the crazy adobe house being for sale. She finally realizes through Margery, her friend and architect, that she is capable of letting go and in the end she no longer dreams all of her dreams taking place in the Berkeley house. The story explores a woman's long-time emotional scars and shows some of the causes as well as the resulting effects on her adult life. The story is set in the late 1970s. It's written in a close third-person point of view and is about a dozen pages long. Alice Adams lived from 1926 to 1999. She had more than twenty-five stories published in The New Yorker and was included in O'Henry Prize  collections more than twenty times. Her papers are housed at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, TX.