Last week we focused on a few short stories. After the post was made, discussions continued to be had about some of our favorites and their merits. We realized in our discourse that the topic was far from over. It seems we only skimmed the surface of our favorite short stories, so Limping Devil Press is going to continue the discussion. This week we bring you A Few Things: A Few Short Stories, Part II.
The Dead by James Joyce – Known as the best of his shorter works, The Dead is long enough for some to consider the story a novella. Joyce pushes the boundaries of a short story’s definition. Naturally, this adds some appeal and leads to some questions about the author’s choices. We are also a little fixated on Gabriel Conroy, the socially awkward main character. Though perhaps not nearly as charming as a wallflower, the self-consciousness Gabriel manages to keep us interested as he blunders through his social interactions.
Black Venus by Angela Carter - Baudelaire wrote several poems about Jeanne Dumal, his Haitian and French lover. In his book Fleurs du Mal, Baudelaire isolates individual aspects of his “Black Venus” and objectifies her in his gaze and his poems. Rather than view her as the exotic, Angela Carter shifts the point of view to Dumal in “Black Venus”. The experiences Baudelaire creates poems about are told in story form through Dumal’s perspective. Carter gives Dumal an interior which she uses to report about her experiences with her lover Baudelaire.
The Interlopers by Saki - Saki’s tale about a long standing feud between the Gradwitzs and the Znaeyms highlights many of the short story’s finer points. Powerful themes of social class, money, man and nature run through his narrative and Saki emphasizes each one with varying degrees of wit. We would not expect anything less from this author. The Gradwitzs and the Znaeyms will be reminiscent of the Hatfield and McCoys, two families with a long standing feud that was inspired by possession.
Although this is part II, we have this distinct feeling that we are just getting started. Since short story limits space, the craft can be slowed down and really viewed. Short story allows the writer’s skill to be emphasized. Now we are even more excited than usual. This post just may continue next week.
What short stories do think cannot be missed?