I don’t read short stories much and I have decided to change that. The best part is I can read them online without stressing my eyes for a long time and also I can read them at work when the work load is not much.
I am doing short reviews of each. There are no spoilers.
The Kiss by Guy De Maupassant.
I read about it first on Eva’s blog. It’s a story in the form of a letter written by an aunt to her niece educating her on the ‘art of loving’. I found the story amusing and entertaining but I don’t think most of it applies today.
Take for e.g. these lines.
Trust in the advice of my experience. First, never kiss your husband in public, in the train, at the restaurant. It is bad taste; do not give in to your desires. He would feel ridiculous and would never forgive you.
It all depends on whether a person likes public display of affection or not. Each to his own I say. It’s a fun read though.
Ghosts by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Today I saw Ikenna Okoro, a man I had long thought was dead. Perhaps I should have bent down, grabbed a handful of sand, and thrown it at him, in the way my people do to make sure a person is not a ghost.
This is a story in the form of a conversation between a professor and a man whom he thinks is dead and has not seen for 37 years. They reminisce about all things lost after the Biafra war and how things have changed. A very beautiful story.
The Headstrong Historian by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Many years after her husband had died, Nwamgba still closed her eyes from time to time to relive his nightly visits to her hut, and the mornings after, when she would walk to the stream humming a song, thinking of the smoky scent of him and the firmness of his weight, and feeling as if she were surrounded by light.
Its a story about a woman called Nwamgba who after her husbands death, enrolled her son in a missionary school so that she could claim her land back from her husbands cousins. She got her land back but she lost her son to the missionaries. The historian here is her son’s daughter whom she thought carried her dead husband’s spirit and who after being a Christian for many years, returned to her roots.
I found this story to be inspired from Things fall apart by Chinua Achebe.
The thing I don’t like about short stories is that it makes me feel as if I have read an incomplete novel, a feeling which I do not like. But with Ms. Adichie’s stories, it is different. Her stories are complete however short they are. If you haven’t read anything by Adichie, try this story out. You can never go wrong with her.
The Ethical Dilemma of a Sandwich down the Pants by Kelly Shriver
We queue up at the Li’l Peach, the one on the town-gown line in Cambridge, and we’re dying. The woman paying the cashier is digging around for exact change, and we all want to yell “It would take way less time to break a fiver!” but we are all too chicken. We’re just strangers with a common goal. We shift from foot to foot, juggling our purchases from hand to hand. We are impatient, but we’re honest. We wait to pay.
Don’t you just love the title? This is a very short story. It will literally take you 2 minutes to read but you will enjoy it. A man is caught shoplifting, stealing a sandwich and stuffing it down his pants. The sandwich is put back in the freezer. There are a lot of moral view points to consider here. For an incredibly short story it is funny and will make you think.
The Fluted Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
The fluted girl huddled in the darkness clutching Stephen’s final gift in her small pale hands. Madame Belari would be looking for her. The servants would be sniffing through the castle like feral dogs, looking under beds, in closets, behind the wine racks, all their senses hungry for a whiff of her. Belari never knew the fluted girl’s hiding places. It was the servants who always found her. Belari simply wandered the halls and let the servants search her out. The servants thought they knew all her hiding places.
A chilling and beautiful story about a girl called Lidia trapped under and a mistress and circumstances she cannot come out of. I loved this story. The writer captured the emotions of the fluted girl very well. Al though this was a complete story in itself, I wish this was a novel. I loved the concept and I would have loved to read at least 200 pages of it.
That’s it for now. I’ll definitely be reading more short stories whenever I get time. I have linked the stories to the respective pages where you can read them. Have you read any of these stories? Rather do you read short stories online or otherwise?
On another note I really really really want to read these couple of books.
Unpolished Gem by Alice Pung and Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji. I just love the covers and the blurbs.
I have read and reviewed both the Adichie short stories on my blog and also the sdandwich one. I read most of the short stories online. But I think you know that!
BTW, I reviewed rooftops of tehran on my blog:
Yes I know you read stories online and a lot of them too. I wish I could read as many short stories as you do. I thought I had read about the Sandwich story on your blog, but I wasn’t sure and I was tired to google 🙂
I don’t normally enjoy short stories, but Chimamanda manages to make them enjoyable for me. Her writing is amazing! Twelve of her short stories are in her new book The Thing Around Your Neck, which I have recently read. Every single one was great. I think you can find 11 of them online though, so it is probably not worth buying the book (I wish I’d known that before I rushed out to buy it!)
I saw Gautami’s review of The Rooftops of Tehran a few hours ago – I’ve just added it to my wish list, so was happy to see that you like the sound of it too.
I think I would still buy the book, I like hardcopies of my books, and besides it would make it so much easier to read it whenever I want to 🙂
I have been thinking about ‘Rooftops of Tehran” for some days now, lol. I was happy to see that Gautami liked the book.
I love short stories, especially collections by the same author. My favourites:-
The Dubliners (James Joyce)
Portrait of an Artist As a Young Dog (Dylan Thomas)
I have a few short cstory collections too, but I haven’t got around to reading them yet. The only one I have read is ‘Interpretor of maladies’ by Zhumpa Lahiri and it’s outstanding.
I’ve been wanting to explore short stories more too. Thanks for the recommendations.
I want to read more short stories. I enjoyed these reviews, and I’m going to read them – thanks for the links!
Personally I don’t like public display of affection… Great review, Violet!
I’ve read three of the four you reviewed, and I loved them all! 😀 I’m purposely not reading any more of Adichie’s stories online, since she has a collection coming out later this year and I want to savour it.
The Adichie stories in particular sound so wonderful! Thanks for the review, Violet.
My two favorite short stories are Gifts of the Magi by O’Henry and Saki’s The Interlopers.