Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"A Country Love Story." Jean Stafford.

Review: Daniel is a professor on sabbatical from his college because he sick with tuberculosis. May is his wife. They decide to get away from the turmoil of the city by buying a house in the country with an antique sleigh in the front yard. That sleigh, distasteful to them in the beginning, becomes symbolic of their marriage. They do nothing to rid themselves of it. At first, excited about their new country environment, they explore together the house and grounds and decide not to give away the sleigh.

Daniel becomes very sick. He hallucinates and accuses May of some secret infidelity. She has no idea what she could have done. But as he shuts himself away in his study to write his book, she imagines a phantom lover sitting in that sleigh, responsive to her as Daniel is not. Now she truly feels guilt.

Daniel has been cool and indifferent to her. And now she is cool and indifferent to him. She retreats to the sleigh, the symbol of doing nothing, and wonders what she will do with the rest of her life.

Short Story Masterpieces. Ed. RP Warren and A. Erskine. New York: Dell Books. 1954.

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