Happy Sunday, fellow Saloners! Thanks so much to those who gave me short story recommendations last week; I’ve had a blast looking at some of the collections recommended (and plan to read them soon). I was at Barnes & Noble last night, and found a collection called Women and Fiction, which has short stories by the likes of Virginia Woolf, Margaret Drabble, and Flannery O’Connor, among others. My seeing it was almost a complete fluke, I’d wandered past the new books, and happened to glance at the table on the other side of the aisle from them. And since it was only $7.95, it came home with me.
So this morning, I’m starting off with the first story in the collection: “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin. I’m not familiar with her work; I somehow managed to make it through high school and college without being assigned The Awakening, even though it was in practically every American Lit anthology I’ve seen. And at only four pages, this took me five minutes to read.
Chopin packs quite a lot into those four pages, from the gentle beginnings to the ironic ending. It’s funny how quickly she and her heroine, Louise Mallard, run the gamut of emotions from the pain of loss, to exhilirated joy, to profound shock. Clearly, there are more changes from the beginning to the end of that hour than even Mrs. Mallard was prepared for. I’m definitely interesting in reading more by Chopin after having read this.
I think reading this story has definitely helped to contribute to my growing respect for the short story as a literary form. I read plenty of them in college, when they were assigned reading, but really never had any appreciation of them. “Hills Like White Elephants” is the only short story I can even recall knowing much about, and that’s because of my odd fascination with Hemingway (completely out of place considering my other literary tastes, truly). It’s my intention, as I did with Unaccustomed Earth, to read one short story a day. I think that’s a good way to balance my short story reading with the other things I read, and it gives me more time to think about what I’ve read in the short stories.
That’s it for this week, I think. Have a great Sunday, everyone!