short story reviews

November 8, 2009

Short Story Review Links

Filed under: short story — gautami tripathy @ 2:52 am

I have put up all the review links of the short stories I have read. Those include the short story collections too. I will keep updating it. Do click on the title to reach my reviews.

Short Stories

Short Story: Yvette by Guy de Maupassant

Short Story: Landscape With Flatiron by Haruki Murakami

Short Story: The Ugly Duckling by Hans Anderson

Short Story: Let Him Dangle by Richard Dickson

Short Story: A Private Experience by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Short Story: Year of the Dog by Casey Kait

Short story: The Parade of You by Barth Anderson

Short Story: The Wide Net by Eudora Welty

Short story: The Missing Statues by Simon Van Booy

Short Story: Tunnels and Walls and Other Ways of Getting There by Sharon Sheehe Stark

Short Story: The Tattoo Woman by Mark Richardson

Short Story: Don’t Stop Now by Al Riske

Short Story: The Dead Man by Fritz Leiber

Short Story: It by Theodore Sturgeon

Short Story: My Mother, the Crazy African by Chimamanda N Adichie

Short Story: Eliyahu ha-Navi by Mark Sparber

Short Story: Time, Again by Tim Maly

Short Story: Leaving the Yellow House by Saul Bellow

Short Story: Weddings and Beheadings by Hanif Kureishi

Short Story:The ruin of Grant Lowery by Audrey Niffenegger

Short Story: Hair by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Short story: Narcissa by by Hilary Mantle

Short Story: Gwen’s Grief by Jennifer Cande

Short Story: Disappointed by Al Riske

Short Story: Tomorrow is too Far by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Short Story: Gina by Alex Burford

Short Story: The Reading Room by Jen Michaelski

Short Story: Say Yes by Tobias Wolffe

Short Story: The Ethical Dilemma of a Sandwich Down the Pants by Kelly Shriver

Short Story: Gargoyle by Joyce Carol Oates

Short Story: A Perfect Day for Banana fish by JD Salinger

Short Story: You in America by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Short Story: Honeymoon by Ivan Kilma

Short Story: Dating A Dead Girl by Sara Powers

Short Story: Ghosts by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Short Story: How to Bring Someone Back from Dead by Veronica Schanoes

Short Story: Clara by Roberto Bolano

Short Story: A Man Like Him by Yiyun Li

Short Story: Shorty’s Paradise by T. Coraghessan Boyle

Short Story: Florette by Ward Just

Short Story: Leaving Memphis by Lauren Birden

Short Story: The Headstrong Historian by Chimanda Ngozi Adichie

Short Story: The Flints of Memory Lane by Neil Gaiman

Short Story: Natasha by Vladimir Nabokov

Short Story: Awake by Tobias Wolffe

Short Story Collections

Kiss Me Again, Stranger by Daphne du Maurier

A Bird in the House by Margaret Laurence

Tea and Other Ayama Na Tales by Eleanor Bluestein

Down to a Sunless Sea by Mathias B. Freese

Collected Stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Innocent Erendera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers by Yiyun Li

Strange Pilgrims by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Just Beyond by Anjan Ray

September 28, 2008

Narcissa by by Hilary Mantle

Filed under: short story,surreal — gautami tripathy @ 11:57 am
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Narcissa by by Hilary Mantle is a fairy tale. I must say, a very unusual fairy tale, the likes of what I have not read before. Just read the opening lines:

“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. You will want to know what she was called, but this she did not know herself; given her choice from Names A-Z, she had got up to R and torn the book apart with her teeth.”

When she comes of age, the princess is seeking a mate for herself. She wants “hand-built suitors from the land’s best workshops.” But when they are wheeled in fron of her, she says, “These are not good enough for me.”

Now what did the princess looked like?

“You will want to know what the princess looked like, and I can tell you only that this varied from day to day. Sometimes she looked like Helen of Troy and sometimes like Cleopatra, depending which head she called for when she woke in the morning. No wonder the bottled souls failed to recognise her. And she had trouble knowing herself, as none of the mirrors in the palace was good enough. They hung them picture and landscape, they lit them up and lit them down, they tinted them and silvered them, and sometimes they sneaked up on her with wing-mirrors and make-up mirrors, but still she said, “These are not good enough for me.”

As she did not find anyone good enough for her, the years went on. She was 50, 60 or maybe 70 when she came across a closed cupboard. Opening it she found creature unlike anything she had seen before. Surprisingly it answered her back the way she used to talk to others. And hence she found her soulmate…..an ugly hedgehog like creature who looked like her.

A fairly tale which is not rosy and all things beautiful. It is about us, the inner ugliness within us and about our ego, which needs to be curbed. And uglines of the soul begets ugliness.

September 27, 2008

Disappointed by Al Riske

Filed under: short story — gautami tripathy @ 1:56 pm

Disappointed by Al Riske

Petra sets a date for her friend Danielle and is disappointed when the narrator does not kiss her friend.

It remains a surprise why she herself did not want to date the narrator. Even though Petra asks for a blind date, she is not very enthusiastic about it. This story left me flabbergasted. I did not get it at all. I stil mention it here. If someone reads it and explains it to me, I welcome that. .

Gwen’s Grief by Jennifer Cande

Filed under: short story,surreal — gautami tripathy @ 11:54 am
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Gwen’s Grief by Jennifer Cande

A surreal story where a girl keeps loosing each of her body parts. Finally she ends up with nothing. She finds a new boy parts in Russ’ attic and makes a body for herself with the help of those. Slowly re-building taking the best out of those. Very over-powering story. Surreal and different

In the first read, this story seems unreal. However, what I assimilated that we can lose ourselves entirely if we are not too careful. We should not give anyone the power to rule over our heart and mind. That is what brings us down. But, we can re-build ourselves. Literally from scratch. Gwen does, despite her grief. She renews herself

September 26, 2008

Tomorrow is too Far by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Filed under: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,short story,surreal — gautami tripathy @ 1:48 pm
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Tomorrow is too Far by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a short story I read in Prospect online.

Only your cousin Dozie knows who killed your brother Nonso

Here a girl is reminishing about something which happened 13 years ago. It was the summer her brother Nonso died. She has gone bask to that plae, where her brother had died. She again meets her ousin Dozie. She has alway been in love with him. Their granmother had preferred her brother over them. He being, her daughter’s son, and she being a mere girl. Even when grandmama was dying, she thought of Nonso, talked of Nonso, even though Dozie was her all this while..

You turn away. There is a long silence while you watch the column of black ants making its way up the trunk, each ant carrying a bit of white fluff, creating a black-white pattern. You feel a rush of gratitude and pity and love and contempt for Dozie for not wanting more, for accepting so little. And you wonder about destiny – if Nonso was destined always to be loved more, if love on the whole is always predestined, if it is ever possible to earn love, or to obtain love that was not originally portioned out for you.

It strikes you too – the illogic of missing something you never had.

Even after his death, Nonso won. In the eyes of her mother too, he was the coveted one, not she. How did he die? Who is responsible for his death? The secret is safe with Dozie. However, forgetting is not easy. Not even after 13 long years.

Thirteen years is long enough to forget, long enough to choose what to remember.

This is the irony of the story.

Say Yes by Tobias Wolffe

Filed under: short story,Tobias Wolffe — gautami tripathy @ 12:22 am

I had bookmarked Say Yes by Tobias Wolffe long time ago. I never got around reading it. Now it seemed perfect for Short Story September.

It is about a married couple washing and drying dishes. They are conversing and their conversation goes horribly wrong.

“They talked about different things and somehow got on the subject of whether white people should marry black people. He said that all things considered, he thought it was a bad idea.”

She is unable to take to his views. She thinks skin colour ought not be a criteria for marriage. When she asks if he would have married her if she had been black, his answer is in the negative. She is not pleased with it. And walks out of the kithen completely ignoring him. He is hurt by her behaviour but goes on about cleaning, drying and mopping the kitchen. He takes the garbage out. When he comes back, the house is dark. He goes to bed and hears a sound..

“He sat up, but he couldn’t see a thing. The room was silent. His heart pounded the way it had on their first night together, the way it still did when he woke at a noise in the darkness and waited to hear it again – the sound of someone moving through the house, a stranger.”

Maybe Ann had become a stranger. I felt that Ann had no reason to get angry at/with him. The husband answered her question truthfully. I felt sympathy for him. Maybe in the darkness, Ann was proving a point that colour is only skin deep. A good end where one can think in different ways.

September 25, 2008

The Reading Room by Jen Michaelski

Filed under: short story,surreal — gautami tripathy @ 5:30 am

The Reading Room by Jen Michaelski

A lady is reading aloud slowly from a periodical in a library. The senior librarian informs the supervisor about ater muh buzz amongst the librarians. She arrives and tells that she is not to read aloud in the library. The lay is flustered an says she is not doing anything wrong. But the supervisor asks her to accompany her. She is led to on the “a dark basement that smelled of old books and wet paper” where three children are sittingfloor reading. The supervisr asks her to read for them and walks out locking the door. Looking at the children, the lady wonders if they are going to eat her. They look so hungry.

“She looked back at the children. She could sense, with a shivering degree of certainty, that they were hungry.”

Reading this very short story, I felt a chill run down my spine. How did the children come about? Why were they locked from outside? What was expeted of the lady? Why was she too locked in?
Do read The Reading Room by Jen Michaelski

Gina by Alex Burford

Filed under: Uncategorized — gautami tripathy @ 5:21 am

Gina by Alex Burford

It s a short short story. One cannot put any kind of classification to it. It is about Gina, who I understand works in a club, probably dancing. The narrator wants to have sex with her. He takes her along. She falls asleeep in his car. He looks at her, thinks of her family and pushes her out of the car letting her lie on the road. Ater a while he does come back for her, although he knows she won’t have sex with hm.

“Gina and I are not friends.”

Why did he think that? He wants to belive a lot of sereotyped suf about Gina but she is not what he wants her to be. She is very different. To know about her, read Gina

The Ethical Dilemma of a Sandwich Down the Pants by Kelly Shriver

Filed under: short story — gautami tripathy @ 12:19 am

The Ethical Dilemma of a Sandwich Down the Pants by Kelly Shriver has an interesting title. Thats what drew me to it. I found it online.

People are in a queue waiting (impatiently) to pay up for their purchases in a store. Suddenly there is a commotion. The cashier gets up to grab a shoplifter.

“We all wonder why the cashier, a Dominican woman, probably as old as my mom, all of five feet tall, bothers to confront a shoplifter.”

The thief has shoved the sandwich he stole down the front of his pants and pretends he has not done it. When she insists on having it back, he “removes a small cellophaned lump from his pants, hands it to his accuser”, and walks out. The cashier puts it back into the cooler and resumes her work. All of a sudden the store is filled with anticipation. Now no one is in a hurry to go. Their uppermost thought being, who is going to pick that sandwich? And whomsoever does that, he/she has to deserve it.

For others, everyone speculates to tell them not to eat it. Suppose an old woman picked it:

“Black, white, Asian, it wouldn’t matter. We would treat her like our own Abuelita. We wouldn’t let her eat the stoner-crotch sandwich.”

Two drunk Harvard students enter wearing “VE RI TAS t-shirts” and talking loudly. The narrator recognises them as her students, who gave her much trouble in class quoting from blue-books. She studiously ignores them. Everyone wills them towards the cooler. The taller one reaches and picks it up. Evetryone is kind of happy about that fact.

For a short story, it asks a lot of questions. What is right or wrong? Shouldn’t the cashier throw the sandwich into the trash can instead of putting it back in the cooler? Shouldn’t the customers arn the buyer? Why did they feel happy when the drunk, loud-mouthed Harvard students picked it up? What is moral?

September 24, 2008

Gargoyle by Joyce Carol Oates

Filed under: short story — gautami tripathy @ 4:12 pm

Gargoyle by Joyce Carol Oates is one of the the Stories of the Week 2008 in Narrative Magazine.

What to make of loneliness. Can you imagine? Three-fifteen a.m. and you lie spread-eagled in bed in your cocoon of a bed in your ripe swollen cocoon of a body while I drive through the snowy drizzle querying myself about life.

Driving along a deserted boulevard. Yellow street lights high atop slender poles. Rain, snow. Mist. Wind. What to make of loneliness. Not anger, not rage, not the wish to die or even the wish to murder. I’m too exhausted for all that. Just loneliness. What to make of it. Aloneness. Can you hear me? Can you guess? Never. You are eight months pregnant now and lie sleepless beside my lover, your spine aching, your stomach bloated, you are a beached bewildered mammalian creature gasping in the air.

Here we are privy to the thoughts of a mistress, who speaks of her loneliness to the wife of her lover. No, not verbally but in her thoughts. As if she almost wills her to listen. She talks of the wife never being alone, what with three children and fourth on the way. Meanwhile, the wife also is awake, silently lying beside her husband so as not to disturb him. She gets up and roams silently throughout the house finally coming to stand near a window. Does she think of the mistress? Does she resent her husband? The mistress’ tone is despising towards the wife. She amosts hates her. So does the wife although it is not said in here.

Gargoyle asks a very important question. The mistress speaks of her loneliness. What about the wife? She might not verbalize it but her movements imply it. In the darkness of the night, she is as lonely as the mistress even more so despite having a husband and three children. Both are united in their aloneness. Loneliness. It so tangible here.

I make my way cautiously to your front door and put out my hand, as if to ring the doorbell. But I don’t ring the bell: I merely press my fingertips against the window.

And you, inside, in the warm slumbrous depths of the house, hesitate only a moment before putting out your hand as well, so that our fingertips meet—nearly meet—through the glass.

I had not read anything by Joyce Carol Oates till date. After reading this short story, I am going to check out more of her works.

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