Short Stories All the Time

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

11 April, 2017

Glen Pourciau, "Invite"

The story is told in first person point of view and past tense. It's about ten pages long and details the self-esteem smashing experience when the narrator was a young man in eighth grade. The narrator  has carried his painful experience for over forty years. With his wife, he attends a book signing party thrown by close friends. Then, the 8th grade culprit is also there. The physical pain he experiences is palpable to his wife and she comes to his rescue. "The sight of him angered me, and the anger hit me like a blow. I could no longer hear the man beside me, who'd been talking to me about antiques. I had a glass of wine in my hand and I tried to take a drink, but after I got the wine in my mouth I couldn't swallow on the first try and didn't know if I'd be able to get it down my throat."

Pourciau delves into the pain of being on the receiving end of cruelty in front of peers and its effects into adulthood. "Sometimes when I was sitting in my office at work, if I had an idle moment or was having a bad day, the question would come to mind and wait to be answered."

The theme for the story, for me, is that words and treatment of others does matter and can have long-lasting effects and also that sometimes confronting the bully can be cathartic. Also, that a loved one can be counted on for kindness and empathy.

"Invite" is included in Pourciau's collection of the same title. It was published in 2008 by University of Iowa Press. He has a new book coming out from Four Way Books entitled View. 

25 August, 2011

Glen Pourciau, "Backbone"

This short story is available online at [] Spring issue 2011, Volume 6, Number 1 of Apple Valley Review.

A glazed lemon tart unfairly charged to a couple's bill and the husband's inability to have it removed becomes the nascent pearl of a wedge between husband and wife.

"Backbone" is very short as most of Pourciau's stories are. And, as usual, he is able to pinprick the splinters in male / female relationships. A seemingly unimportant event somehow shows what years worth of therapy might not reveal or repair.

This is a great short, short story and I'm happy to have run across it on The Narrative Drive blog.

Apple Valley Review
review at The Narrative Drive blog
review of his collection Invite at University of Iowa Press
interview at Book Fox
review of collection Invite at The Quarterly Conversation

28 March, 2010

Glen Pourciau, "Grate," "Fork," and "Ride"

In three really short stories, “Grate,” “Fork,” and “Ride,” Glen Pourciau takes seemingly banal, insignificant moments, dices them to bits, and re-presents them in the form of short stories to shows us ourselves.

In “Grate,” told in 1st person POV discussion about a small piece of rubber found in spaghetti sauce and the difficulty of opening medicine bottles are the major topic at dinner amongst the two couples.

In “Ride,” a librarian is faced with a moral dilemma, the proverbial rock and a hard place, at the end of a workday. And, in “Fork,” a man accompanies his wife, post-surgery, to a restaurant where a spill at their table and the consequent noisy grumbling elicits from a fellow diner a threatening and hostile attitude.

“Grate” was published in The Antioch Review, Fall 2009 issue
“Ride” was published in the online journal Hobart: Another Literary Journal, December 2009
“Fork” was published in SmokeLong Quarterly, Issue Twenty-Seven (December 20, 2009)
and an interview was published in: SmokeLong Quarterly

22 March, 2010

Glen Pourciau, "Mercy"

Read Glen Pourciau's story, "Mercy." It's about 750 words long, one paragraph and written in 1st person POV. The busybody neighbor of two people, husband and wife, on vacation in Mexico goads the husband into sharing the security code to their alarm system. Then, the protagonist proceeds to worry about what Mercy, the busybody neighbor, plans to do once she gets inside their house. The psychological element is spot-on. Mercy is clever in obtaining the security code. The husband falls for it and sees himself falling for it but allows it to happen anyway. I wanted to be able to grant the poor husband a "do-over." We've all been in his shoes in one way or another. Pourciau's style is wonderful and it's amazing how much he squishes into less than 1,000 words. I just happened to find this story online at Freight Stories.

06 March, 2010

Raymond Carver, "The Idea" Glen Pourciau, "Other"

Read Raymond Carver's short story, "The Idea." Written in 1st person POV. Vern and his wife, the narrator, watch their neighbor sneek out of his house nearly every night to window peep at his wife in his own house. The narrator is disgusted but fascinated by it and her husband, Vern, is beginning to think the neighbor might be on to something. This story is included in Would You Please Be Quiet Please and written in 1971-1972.

Here is a link to another interview with Carver.

Read Glen Pourciau's story, "Other," published in the New Orleans Review,
Volume 35, Number 1.
In just over two pages, a husband and wife, at a bar, share with a woman they do not know the anger felt because the husband still loves his first wife who died too young. In turn, the unknown woman who also lost a lover has more empathy for the husband than the wife.

10 January, 2010

Glen Pourciau, "Claim"

Worked on my story, "Liz the Liar" but have decided to call it "Vera, Vera." I'm just beginning to get a handle on what it might be about.

Read an author I've never read before, Glen Pourciau. His short story, "Claim" is in the Summer 2008 issue of The Paris Review. It is written in 1st person POV. A husband and wife return to the department store where they'd purchased a pair of slacks and in just 2 weeks time, according to the couple, the store's structure had changed and, not only did the first store not have his pants that had been altered in length, the second store, where the couple had never been, had his pants. Then they decide they want to go to their favorite hamburger joint only to discover it is not there any longer either and they must go to another location of the franchise. We never know the age of the couple. It is never clear if they are becoming senile, merely disoriented, or plain mistaken. The story is surreal but banal and I really liked it. The entire 2,500 word story is all one paragraph.