Short Stories All the Time

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

22 March, 2011

Mavis Gallant, "Acceptance of Their Ways"

Lily Littel--with a questionable and somewhat shady past--observes two elderly women, Mrs. Freeport and Mrs. Garnett, and their manners with one another. Lily Littel, aka Mrs. Cliff Little, a paying boarder is treated as though she is a servant and to entertain herself, Lily often retreats into her violent imagination.

Subtle story telling and within just a few pages, Gallant has created a story that reveals class differences as well as age differences.

"Acceptance of Their Ways" was first published in 1960 and is now included in the collection: The Cost of Living: Early and Uncollected Stories.

LINKS:
Guardian review of The Cost of Living

18 March, 2011

Helen Simpson, "Sorry?"

Patrick has had to get a hearing aid which screams at him. His hearing disappeared overnight and what comes through the hearing device vacillates between "compensatory brain activity" and his guilty conscience. "'You old beast,' shrieks at him in his daughter's voice but he can see that her lips were not moving." His wife has died, his younger daughter has moved to Australia, from England, and he's staying with his eldest daughter while he gets back on his feet with his hearing and middle ear difficulties. Evidently, he was not a model father and has no interest in becoming one now. At times funny, at times poignant, and at times prescient, pay attention or... I liked this story very much.

The story is probably less than 2,500 words and written in 3rd-person POV. It was published in Granta, issue number 106.

Also included in this issue is an extensive interview with Mavis Gallant.

LINKS:
Granta's web page for Simpson
QBD book shop site

18 February, 2011

Mavis Gallant, "Madeline's Birthday"

picture from The Guardian
Madeline has been sent to live for the summer with an old friend of her mother's. Madeline's father recently remarried and her mother unable to cope has gone to Europe. Madeline and a German boy about the same age are both staying the summer at the generous Mrs. Tracy's country house in Connecticut. My favorite paragraph is the second one that contains the word cope five times. It's musical.

"Madeline's Birthday" is the first story in the collection, The Cost of Living: Early and Uncollected Stories and was first published in 1951 in The New Yorker. The entire story takes place in a small amount of time on the morning of Madeline's 17th birthday. It is written in omniscient viewpoint and shows us a young girl, unhappy, abandoned, and set into the midst of a still-intact family. The story swings from the unsettled nature of Madeline to Mrs. Tracy's attempts at domestic happiness and her mis-placed nostalgia. Wonderful story. It exhibits three different ways in which women attempt to cope with their lives and their happinesses.

LINKS:
Paris Review interview, written
Mavis Gallant reads another story, video, "In Transit" etc.