Short Stories All the Time

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

13 January, 2013

Carol Anshaw, "The Last Speaker of the Language"

"The Last Speaker of the Language," written in third-person limited POV and present tense. Darlyn's mother is a drunk; Darlyn's daughter, Mary a.k.a. Lake is wonderfully individualistic and likable. My favorite line about her, "Lake is inside making Gruyère omelets." Darlyn is trying to balance raising her daughter, work at Home Depot, love a married woman and coming to the rescue, repeatedly, of her alcoholic mother. However, she is, at least temporarily, happy and grateful for being happy, even if it is short lived.

I like the abrupt or jumpy way the scenes move from one to another. It feels correct for the story and is never confusing or disjointed.

The theme, for me, seems to be that we all are basically seeking happiness, even if it is temporary and we know it to be and also that we do need someone to share love with. If you do not have someone to share love with (speak the same language) then a person is really alone. I think including the story about the last speaker of Bo underscores that idea for us. It is profound trying to imagine what it would be like to be the only person remaining who speaks a language. Since Darlyn's love for Christy was a secret, they only had each other to speak about their love. "You are the only one I can speak Bo with." (Did Russ, Darlyn's brother, know about the affair all along?)

In my cursory research, it seems that Anshaw is mostly a novelist. I like this story and will look forward to more. "The Last Speaker of the Language" was first published in New Ohio Review and subsequently selected for The Best American Short Stories, 2012.

Wikipedia page about Bo language
Includes a 19 second sound track of the last person speaking Bo
Anshaw's blog
Anshaw's Wikipedia page