I stopped adding to this blog about three months ago. Frankly, I was amazed at its popularity. Today, I stopped by to see what was happening with it. I was amazed to see that yesterday there were 158 page views and 11 followers. And I haven't added to it in three months.
Please: will you tell me why you are reading this short story blog. The summaries are straightforward, unembellished. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do, I will resume the blog. There are a lot of short stories out there. I have a ton of them. Thanks. RayS.
Friday, September 23, 2011
An explorer in the bitter cold of the northwind. He said he was a scientist, always making measurements. And then he decided to go up the icy mountain to confront the weather and measure it.
The winter storm was too much for him and his equipment, his tent and his sleeping bag and his cooking utensils and his stove were torn from his grasp. And he was freezing, dying.
Then the Storm spoke to him. What if the snow felt warm, if you were the temperature of the snow? What would you do with that gift? He returned to the village, but now to be indoors made him hot since he was the temperature of snow and ice. So he returned to the mountain.
A winter’s night story.
(As is always true with storytelling, some of the incidental details caused the story teller’s listeners not to believe the story. Who ever heard of houses piled on top of each other as the explorer had described where he came from?)
About the Author: “JM Scott, OBE 1945, has succeeded as writer and explorer. He was secretary to the 1933 Everest Expedition and has published many books, including Gino Watkins and Icebound. For recreation he sails and goes mountain walking. His home is in Cambridgeshire.”
Short Story International #14. Sylvia Tankel, Ed. June 1979, pp. 23-39.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
It had been a year since her 21-year-old son Carlos had been murdered. The murderer, the police said, was still hiding in the hills. The police continued to look for him.
And then, the murderer appeared at her door. He was desperate. He was emaciated and his clothes were ragged and torn. For some reason, she hid him from the police. He explained that he did not mean to kill her son.
He stayed in the cabin--in Carlos’s room. When Carlos had died, she had covered the mirror in Carlos’s room with a black cloth. She would not let the man sleep in Carlos’s bed. She made him sleep on the floor.
Then the transformation. She repaired his ragged clothes. She took the black cloth from the mirror. She allowed him to sleep in Carlos’s bed. He had now become her son.
Editor’s note: “Caught suddenly in an extraordinarily tight spot, the woman’s innate humanity surfaces.”
About the Author: “Born 1930 in Buenos Aires, Daniel Mohyano went to live in Cordoba at six, first with relatives, then in a reformatory. He was provincial correspondent for the province of La Rioja, on the daily Clarin of Buenos Aires, before going into self-exile to Madrid. Author of several prize-winning stories, Mr. Moyano is now at work on a fictional-historical fusion about the many Facundos in Argentine history. HE Francis, a recognized short story writer, is the talented translator. Mr. Francis has had four Fulbright fellowships, three to Argentina, a country with which he has had fourteen years of intimate relationship.”
Short Story International #14. Sylvia Tankel, Ed. June 1979, pp. 9-22.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
My short story reviews are averaging about 160 hits a day. I enjoy reviewing short stories because they are different, on different topics and always surprise me in some way. Sometimes they are filled with information about unfamiliar topics. Sometimes they have ironic twists in plots. Sometimes they have fascinating characters. They are some of the reasons that I enjoy reviewing short stories, especially those in Short Story International, edited by Sylvia Tankel. Mostly I review short stories because I enjoy reading them and also appreciate the challenge of summarizing them. That’s my reason for this blog.
However, I am amazed that there is so much interest in these reviews or summaries. And I would like to know why. There are some critics who have said that the short story is a dead art form. I will appreciate some of my readers telling me why they are so interested in these short story reviews. Please write to RayS. at email@example.com. Thanks.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
A teacher at a boarding school. A little boy who is liked by no one. He keeps running away. Why? No one knows. After his latest runaway, she finds him and he confesses his reason for running away. He wants to see an elm tree. All this for an elm tree?
He runs away again—while he is sleeping with his teacher in the room. She seeks the help of a forester. They search everywhere, but cannot find him.
After a week, he returns. Bedraggled and wet with dew. She asks him if he has seen the elm tree. He says he has not because it has been cut down. Then why did you come back? ”I missed--you.”
About the Author: “Anna P. Lupan was born in 1922 in the village of Mikhuleny, Rezinsky district, the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic. She graduated from Agricultural College and then the High Literary Courses of the Soviet Writers’ Union. Her works began appearing in the middle 50’s. Several books of short stories and novels have been published. Her plays have been a great success in Moldavian theaters. The writer is fond of depicting life in a modern village.”
Short Story International #30. Sylvia Tankel, Ed. February 1982, pp. 95-102.
Monday, September 19, 2011
A poor peanut vendor. Every week he bets on the lottery, after his wife screams at him for spending his profits on the lottery, and flirts with the seller of the lottery ticket. He wins the lottery. And then he loses most of it to pickpockets and two little boys on bikes who swipe his hat that has all the liré from his winnings under it.
He has to return to his wife—broke again. So he tries to commit suicide by jumping in the river. Two police officers save him and return him to his wife.
Strangely, she does not yell at him. She has heard that he is now famous for winning the lottery. She is glad to have him back, instead of being a lonely widow of a famous lottery winner.
About the Author: “Lively and creative, Carolynne Scott has been writing for newspapers and magazines for about 20 years. In 1978, she enjoyed a writing fellowship for fiction from the National Endowment for the Arts. She writes short stories and poetry, and has won several literary awards. She has also won an Alabama regional award for photography. In addition to her writing and job commitments as public relations director and magazine editor, she is the mother of a three-year-old.
Short Story International #30. Sylvia Tankel, Ed. February 1982, pp. 143-156.
Friday, September 16, 2011
A refugee from the city to farm country in New Mexico. Apple orchard owned by Mr. Sprouse who knows a city slicker when he sees one. Mr. Sprouse includes an apple tree with the farm he is renting to the narrator. Mr. Sprose’s wife and surviving son [lost his first son to the war] are mean people, although the narrator’s relationship to Mr. Sprouse is good. Treats the narrator like his son.
Then came the harvest of the apples. Mrs. Sprouse had planted the narrator’s apple tree and she insists on harvesting the apples as if they were hers. The narrator tries to stop her and her son Dan from picking them. Tries to do this as a pacifist would, only he finally punches out Dan. And then he walks away.
Now, if he’s going to stay on the land, the narrator insists in a written contract. And then his relationship with Mr. Sprouse becomes more formal, not as friendly. The story ends with the apple tree in question ruined by an early frost.
Comment: The narrator has come to the country to escape the meanness of people in the city. He discovers the meanness of the people in the country. RayS.
About the Author: “Born in 1925 in Cuba, Robert Granat was educated at Yale University. He is the author of numerous short stories and essays, two novels and a non-fiction work. For many ears he has been ‘reducing financial pressures by subsistence farming in Spanish-American villages in Northern New Mexico.’ “
Short Story International #30. Sylvia Tankel, Ed. February 1982, pp. 95-102.