Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Short Story Review ReCap

One of Gautami's post reminded me that I used to read short stories last year.
In this post, I am posting the reviews that I had posted last year on my deleted blog. If you are interested, you may as well read some of these stories :-)
Short Story 1: The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin is the Story of this week at Narrative Magazine.
This story as the title suggests is an hour in the main protagonists Mrs. Mallard's life. Mrs Mallard who is suffering from heart disease, hears about her husbands death, after which the story beautifully expresses the one hour she spends agonizing about death. Her mixed feelings and then the belief that death will eventually give her the liberation that she seeks and then the unexpected twist.
I want to share with you an excerpt, which is about how she saw death as a liberation and that totally touched me -
There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination.
It is truly a touching story, a very quick read also.  I recommend it highly :)


Read about The Ghost by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at Gautami's Tripathy's blog the first time, and had bookmarked it too. So today I read it at last!

This short story is based after the time of the war between Nigeria and Biafra. 
It is about Prof. James Nwoye, who has gone to the University for his pension, which has been due for awhile now. There he meets  Ikenna Okoro, who was thought to be dead during the war. He first
 thinks, that he is a ghost, but later on realizes he is alive and had migrated to Sweden during the war. He was one of those who had not remained true the Biafran cause, he thought.

This story, gives you a sneak peek in to the lives of people like Prof. James Nwoye, who taught at the university - during the pre-war phase, then hoe their lives c
hanged during the war and then the consequences of the war! How for them, death during war, was just like death due to some accidents. About their lives that were destroyed by the war and their after-maths. How 'fake-drugs' didn't kill people but left them be killed by illness. 

This story is about his life in a nut-shell, about his dead daughter and wife. About his living daughter who is worried for her father, who stays alone in Biafra. 

And this story is about James's dead wife Ebre, who visits him weekly, to moisturize away the dryness of his soul with Nivea. 


Short Story 3: Mallard and May by Cecelia Ahern

Cecelia Ahern's first novel PS, I Love You was one of the biggest-selling debut books of 2004 and a number one bestseller. Her successive novels are Where Rainbows EndIf You Could See Me Now and A Place Called Here. PS, I Love You, starring Hilary Swank, is now a major motion picture.


Mallard and May are impossibly in love with each other and have just got back to Ireland after a winter spent at their holiday home in South Africa. Things can't possibly get any better than this. They both decide to spend a day at a beach-resort before heading back home. It is here that they both meet-up some enthusiastic French lads from the flight, who Mallard is suspicious about.  The French boys, come to Ireland every year for their holidays and end up telling them about what happened to them last summer, when they were here visiting. May and Mallard are very upset listening to it and plan to return to their home immediately. What happens to them after that is for you to read and know.
Ceclia has an amazing way to put forth 'love in words'. Yup! right! I mean it. The way the main characters love each other is so amazing. the pictorial details are amazing, but the story was kind of predictable. 
It has a sad ending.
You can read the story at Women and home.
I would recommend it to all romance-story lovers for a light and fast read, especially with a cup of steaming sugary tea :-)

Short Story 4: Don't Stop now by Al Riske

Alright! Thanks to Gautami AGAIN, she got me to read this one too :-)
I found her review really funny, and as it was a really short 'story', I thought, I will give it a try :-)

Don't Stop now, is a story based in 1972. It is about 2 17-year olds. The story is narrated by the boy who is with Leslie on a date. It is a very simple but cute story, about 2 'kids' making out on a lake-side. There silly talks and there silly little -nothings. It is about a girl who is so sure about herself and a boy who is not sure about the next moment. 
Of a girl who means what she says and about a boy who is certain, he will forget what he said. 
It is about them wishing to go on to the next step of their juvenile relationship :-).
They both are just 17, and they don't want to stop now :-)
I can't write anything more, as there is no "story" as such, but it is still interesting reading a boy's perspective.
It made me smile, and I hope it makes you too :o)
Read Don't Stop now by Al Riske @ Hobart


Short Story 5: Looters by Laura Jamison
Looters by Laura Jamison is the Story of the week at Narrative Magazine.

The story is about the friendship between Denise and Gwen. They were both trying to be journalists when they met each other in 1989. After which they became roommates.  They had lot in common but were totally different people altogether.

It was true that they had a lot in common, but really Denise grew toward and around Gwen, like a vine seeking the sun and finding, on its way, a dependably lovely stake to curl around
Gwen came from an affluent family, and even when she worked for the newspapers part-time for no money, her parents filled her bank account with enough to live lavishly. She was a fun-person who always went ahead and talked to 'weird' people about 'weird' things. On the other hand, Denise had to struggle, struggle a lot for herself. And so Denise kind of started believing -

If she could just imitate Gwen’s ways—act like someone who expected nothing but laughs and gifts from the world—maybe she could fool fate.
Of course like every other friendship, there too had problems. And this is a story about how relationships start to dwindle. How problem's, that were never problem's before start to rock the cozy boat of angelic perception. 

It is a good story, I really identified with Gwen and Denise's relationship a lot. It reminded me off, my younger days too.  I hope you guys get around reading this one; because it is as if you tread those roads of friendships that you would want to not remember, but eventually you feel good about it too, it might have happened to you too, as it has happened to me. 
And like Denise, I too wonder sometimes, if I would have done anything differently, but it is now too late to care!

I actually like Laura Jamison's style. It held my attention [ which has a very short-span] and I wanted to see, what happens next all the time. It is a good story, come read it here!


Short Story 6: Outside Elko by Porter Fox

Outside Elko by Porter Fox is the Story of the Week at Narratives Magazine.
I have not read any short stories, this month and felt really sad not doing it, and this one appealed to me too, and thus I went ahead and read it.

Outside Elko starts off with a very casual conversation between 2 friends Bill and Ted. The conversation between the two was something that was really nice. One liners and sometimes one word answers, just like me and my best-friend would talk if there was something wrong.

It is just a day that's sketched in this very short short-story, but it is interesting how it teached us the very important lessons of one life,

Time and Tide waits for no one.
It has a very sad ending. I would like to tell you more about the 2 of them and more about the story, but I would like you to read and see, as I don't want to take away the freshness of knowing nothing and liking it. But for the most part of it, you are aware in a very strange way of the sadness thats going to engulf you.

But still the ending is somewhat different.
I know I am sounding so confusing, but it is, trust me like that!

I will give it a 3 on 5. 


Short Story 7: Narcissa by Hilary Mantle

Before going in for a review of this tale, Guardian.co.uk tells you this [be warned!]

Once upon a time ...

... there were frog princes, ugly sisters and dark, moral messages. And now? We challenged three writers to come up with fairy tales fit for the 21st century

I read Narcissa by Hilary Mantle because I read a review of this short story by Gautami at her blog Short Story Reviews! Gautami reviews all kind of short-stories, and you will be amazed at the weirdness of her selection. And that's most definitely the reason I read her reviews :)

And this fairy-tale was no exception. You will feel as if I am copying Gautami's review [ I am really sorry! ] but you will be amazed at the starting of this story -

In the days when all the priests were dead, and most people walked around with their heads tucked under their arms for safety's sake, there was a princess for whom nothing was ever good enough.
It is totally a weird story, but once you are done with it, and really start thinking about it; you will know that it is much more than that. In the no-named princess, I see me... and I am sure you will see you! You see the face you want to see in the mirror of your life and seldom see the real you! In all the faces you put up, you forget to look for your own soul, which is trapped somewhere inside a cupboard, the key to which is also inside you. And recognizing it yourself forms the crux of our own life stories.

It is pretty philosophical, yet so true!


Short Story 8: Harvest, POSTCARDS FROM ITALY By Steven Rydman
Harvest, POSTCARDS FROM ITALY By Steven Rydman
Narrative Magazine Story of the Week

This short story is written as a bunch of postcards that Billy sends to his mom from Italy after he has moved there. It is so lovely. He through his letters tells his mom, about his life, the people and the harvest season in Italy. It is a beautiful very short piece.
It is ironic that his mom thinks it is a petty job to have as she doesn't tell the other family members as to what Billy is doing in Italy.

It is so short but packed with so much emotions!
The best part is the quotes from W. Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. I really didn't kow about this book, but now I am definitely going to try it out :)
The lines that are quoted in the short story and are very apt for the story lines -

“For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”

They are alive and well somewhere,
The smallest sprout shows there is really no death,
And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,
And ceas’d the moment life appear’d.

All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.

It is a very beautiful short story, and I think you all should read it :)!
4 on 5! 



gautami tripathy said...

Good you posted the reviews. I have not read any short story for some time now. I do need to get back.

I will check out the last one. Sounds good to me.

Violet said...

great reviews. I've read The ghosts and loved it. I'm going to look for Cecelia Ahern stories now. Thanks for the links

docshona said...

Thanks for this Veens. I had forgotten about a book of Short Stories by Archer that I have with me. I will get to it.

Suko said...

Wow! I enjoy short fiction, and these short stories all sound good. I'd have a hard time rating them. :)

Anna said...

It's been a few months since I read some short stories. Thanks for giving me some ideas!

Diary of an Eccentric

Iliana said...

Woo-hoo, you read quite a few. I'm not much of a short story reader but earlier in the year I was trying to read a short story a week. Unfortunately I fell behind very quickly. Ah well, must pick up that habit again!

Iliana said...

Woo-hoo, you read quite a few. I'm not much of a short story reader but earlier in the year I was trying to read a short story a week. Unfortunately I fell behind very quickly. Ah well, must pick up that habit again!

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