Short Stories All the Time

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

28 April, 2016

Anna Gavalda, "Epilogue"

This story tells of a woman's attempts at submitting her short stories for publication, her husband's responses to her winning a prize, and her hopes that are then dashed. A touching scene that illustrates how others don't appreciate or care about another person's work.

"The girl lifts up the cover of her big Xerox machine and manhandles the packet like so many vulgar handouts on civil law: there you go, I'll just turn it every which way for you, and there you go, I'll just dog-ear the corners for you. The artist suffers in silence." I can so relate to this, when something is important to you and another person doesn't give any respect. Gosh.

The story opens with the husband making fun of his wife, the writer, by calling her Marguerite Duras, a famous French writer, in front of guests. He teases that he can't wait to drive a Jaguar XK8. The story shifts several times from first-person POV to third-person POV and even to Marguerite Duras. We finally find out that her name is Atala and it's heartbreaking to watch her response to the publisher who only wanted to meet with her out of curiosity. "Listen, I'll be honest with you: Your manuscript does some interesting things, and you do have a certain style, but"... She'd been through all sorts of worries and concerns and nerves getting ready for her "meeting."

24 April, 2016

Anna Gavalda, "Pregnant"

This story is about a woman who is excited to be pregnant with her second child but things don't go as planned. The theme, for me, is expectations, both by the protagonist as well as other people around, even strangers. So often, strangers feel they have the right to their expectations about someone else. I suppose as long as those expectations are kept to one's self, it's harmless. It's a heart wrenching story with a selfless woman as the main character.

The story is told in a very close 3rd person POV; however, it begins with a distant viewpoint, "They're nuts, these women who want a baby." Then, it moves closer, "She's like the rest of them." And, the remainder of the story is a very close third-person point-of-view that feels like first-person. "She goes out by the little door in back because she doesn't want to walk through the waiting room again."

"Pregnant" is another story in Gavalda's collection, I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere. 

Anna Gavalda, "This Man and This Woman"

This four page short story explores a marriage as well as the husband's love of money. A nouveau riche couple are on a drive to their country house. All the husband thinks about is money and how cheating on his wife could cost him a lot of money, so he quits cheating. The woman realizes, "she's never been loved." The story eliminates anything extraneous and nails the superficial life of this couple.

Gavalda won the Académie Française Short Story Award in 2000 for the collection, I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere. It was first published in France in 1999 and translated and published in English in 2003 by Riverhead Books. I found this collection at Half-Price Books in Dallas.

Anna Gavalda, Wikipedia
Riverhead Books
Half-Price Books