Friday, November 12, 2010

"One Day in the Life of Mrs, Riley." Maureen Pople.

Short Story International. Ed. Sylvia Tankel. New York: Great Neck, vol. 5, #27, August 1981, pp. 9-15.

Summary: Everyone expects Mr. Riley to die. He’s demanding, obnoxious. His sons have never amounted to anything because they are just like their father. Mrs. Riley goes about the house preparing for his funeral, which is expected any time soon. Finished cleaning the house to what she perceives as her relatives’ expectations, she climbs the stairs to take a nap. She thinks, “He’s[Mr. Riley] settled down and the house is clean. They’ll [the relatives] be here by six. There’s nothing more I can do. And she slept.”

“The family arrived at six and found Mr. Riley, as usual, banging his stick on the floor for his dinner, and Mrs. Riley…for the very first time…not answering.”

“The funeral was held two days later. Mrs. Riley looked splendid and not one of the family had a word of criticism.”

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"To the Measures Fall." Richard Powers.

The New Yorker (October 18, 2010), 72-77.

Summary: In and out of the world of books throughout her life. Early in her academic career, interested in a controversial writer named Wentworth. Plans to do a dissertation on him.

“Mistaking books for life.”

Through the decades she shifts from one interest to another, including the Internet, but she again returns to her interest in books.

What do books amount to? A life wasted on them. They occasionally elucidate life, but mostly books are about other worlds. Not hers.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"The Tree Line., Kansas, 1934." David Means.

I'm back. RayS.

The New Yorker (Oct. 25, 2010), 75-77.

Two agents. Waiting on the tree line watching the farm’s fields for signs that a crook named Carson has returned to his relative’s farm where he has buried some loot.

The boring nature of the wait, but afraid not to stop watching for fear that Carson would suddenly appear. Monotony. The time is taken up by the younger agent, streaming his thoughts endlessly on his theories about what was happening with Carson. The older agent listens without hearing, busy with his own thoughts, critical of the younger agent’s naiveté.

Certain that Carson would not show up, the younger agent stands up and walks out of the tree line, to be blasted away by Carson and his men.

Monday, October 4, 2010

"On a Journey." Slawomir Mrozek.

The coach is passing a series of men spaced evenly by the side of the road. Because the poles were stolen and no wire is available, these men have become a “wireless telegraph,” passing on messages from man to man. The men are employed by the state for their duties.

Fifty Great European Short Stories. Ed. Edward and Elizabeth Huberman. New York: Bantam Books. 1971.
After this sampling of short stories, I have decided to end this blog. RayS.

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Everythng Is Good at the End of the World." Zsigmund Moricz.

“Mother Dear” had nine children, ten if you count four-year-old Rozi who was a state-supported child. “Mother Dear” made Rozi wait her turn when the other nine took a bath. Rozi waited for bread, and if none was left she got none. When she stole some and went out to the barn to eat it “Mother Dear” beat her. Rozi didn’t cry because no one cared and no one would sympathize with her. Rozi did not even know that “Mother Dear” was not her mother. When the lady from the state realized how Rozi was being treated by “Mother Dear,” she took her away and gave her to a nice plump woman in town. But Rozi ran away to be with “Mother Dear” again. Rozi felt that everything would be good at the end of the world and she looked forward to it and waited patiently for it. Her job was to wait.

Fifty Great European Short Stories. Ed. Edward and Elizabeth Huberman. New York: Bantam Books. 1971.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

"The Treasure." Alberto Moravia.

Similar to the tale of the brothers who dig up the land searching for treasure, only to find that the “treasure” is the crops they now plant. In this case the “treasure” seekers dig a manure pit. Good character in old man Marinese. He is an incoherent jabberer, loving gardener and courageous in the face of the pistol-waving treasure seekers.

Fifty Great European Short Stories. Ed. Edward and Elizabeth Huberman. New York: Bantam Books. 1971.