Short Stories All the Time

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

13 July, 2013

Lynn Freed, "The Ways Things Are Going"

Once again, a great story from Lynn Freed. And, a nice surprise in that I wasn't expecting to see it when I scanned the table of contents. Jo and Ma move to California to live with Gwen, Jo's step-sister and ten years older. A heinous attack had occurred and Gwen told Jo that it would happen again, "it was only a matter of time.

The story is about 3,000 words and divided into five sections. The story begins with the recalling of the attack and Jo blaming it on herself because of her "infuriating habit of consideration for others." She'd opened the door to strangers although dressed in police uniforms she knew better. The story circles around and ends with her unlatching the door. In between the psychological relationships between the mother, daughters, granddaughter and housekeeper are shown.

"The Way Things are Going" was published in Harper's Magazine, August 2013.

"And what stupidity had had me sliding off the door chain if not my infuriating habit of consideration for others?"

"And if I went on agreeing with her like this, one day I'd forget how to know what I thought or felt, and would find myself heaping scorn on the sort of people I'd always loved, people she considered 'full of nonsense,' because I'd have forgotten how full of nonsense I was myself, so bewitched would I be back into childhood, with Gwen wielding all the authority of the ten years between us."

Lynn Freed's web page

12 July, 2010

Lynn Freed, "Sunshine"

News flash from Narrative Magazine: Lynn Freed’s short story “Sunshine” has been selected for the 2011 PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories.

07 May, 2010

Lynn Freed, "Sunshine"

Lynn Freed's short story, "Sunshine" is a page turner. She begins with an enthralling visual of, at first I thought a dead girl, a feral child, possibly a child raised by baboons. The wild child is captured and taken to a sexual deviant who has all of the power and money of the village. The story, an exercise of writing one of those scary tales told to misbehaving children, recounts an unwanted girl child being raised by the baboons that stole her or took care of her upon her being abandoned. Freed is a fabulous story teller; she uses the words so well that you forget you are reading.

I read this story again. It is diabolical but at least the wild child prevails. The story is just as suspenseful as with my first reading. 

This is one of those stories that was hard for me to see the forest through the trees. The heinous acts of all the village people as well as the master are so disgusting but that is the point. I think the theme is that people are often willing to go to such lengths to save themselves. We truly are a selfish lot. When we allow horrible things to happen, we are just as guilty as the perpetrator.  

When I attended Squaw Valley, 2008, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Lynn Freed. Not only is her accent beautiful but she's succinct, precise, and masterful in her opinions and observations.

02 January, 2010

Lynn Freed, "Ma: A Memoir," and Stuart Dybek

Listened to "Ma: A Memoir" written by Lynn Freed and read by Marian Seldes on Selected Shorts on NPR. I've read this story before and also listened to the author read it. I think I listened to it on the Narrative Magazine web site.

It is a wonderful short story about a husband dying of cancer, the slightly senile and cantankerous wife and the accomodating daughter and their psychological dance.

Lynn Freed was one of the teachers/lecturers at Squaw Valley in 2008. I enjoyed her talks very much.

Read "Woodie Hart" with waiting in mind. Like Dybek said in his essay, once you think about it, waiting is everywhere. It is so funny how timely things are sometimes. "Woodie Hart" has a great deal to do with waiting and planning.