Friday, March 27, 2009

Lately, I've been reading short stories and rediscovering the beauties of that short, compact form. I just finished a story by Katherine Mansfield called "Prelude" -- a long, puzzling, and oddly lovely story about a family moving to a new and bigger home outside of London. There's no plot to speak of (Mansfield is famous for that), but in the end, I was left with a strangely clear picture of this family. She manages to quietly and almost imperceptibly lay open the sights and sounds, as well as the inner feelings of the characters. Reading it, you think it seems like a boring story, but by the end you're smiling because you came to know this interesting family so well. I also read a story by Willa Cather (one of my favorite authors) called "On the Divide" -- a wild and wonderful tale about a giant, crazy Norwegian in Nebraska (1880's) who suddenly finds both love and serenity after a life of liquor and despair.

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