I love short stories. I believe that as an art form it can be greatly under-appreciated. (That’s clumsy, but you know what I mean.) There is a skill to creating a short story that hooks you –holds you – and then, the toughest of all, lingers in your memory as a great novel would.
I have read hundreds of short stories in my time and have developed an appreciation for them that many of my fellow reading buddies can’t grasp.
When I suggested “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver as the next read for our Book Club (this was some time ago) my friends read it but didn’t get it. I trudged home with a heavy heart. My attempts at enlightenment failing.
Collections linger in my mind like memories of favourite meals. Fi once gave me a complete collection by Isaac Babel for Christmas and I read it during a long cold winter. It seemed appropriate. I loved it, but I know I can’t share that with my friends because they just don’t get short stories.
But then again, I also have a problem remembering some of those I have enjoyed the most. These are often by little known struggling authors, and I’m ashamed to say, I can’t remember their titles or the author. If they had been novels, would I have recalled the key details more easily?
I recall one, I think called “Big Sky” by ? , about a secret murder in the English fens. Loved it.
…another where the a group of youngsters played dangerously by throwing glass bottles at the head of their friend, who wears a protective, shatterproof welding mask …
… or another, where an old lady returns home from her Bridge Club or something, and disturbs a violent burglar in her house, and she verbally ties him in knots, thereby saving herself and her belongings …
… and so these images stick. But I’m damned if I can recall who wrote them or the title of the story.
I have promised myself therefore, that the next time I read a short story that makes me go “Wow” , I shall begin my Ultimate List….. and then I’ll know where to find them again…. and create my own Ultimate Collection.
Any suggestions ?
(Oh, and apparently this is my 150th post on SMM, and I’m a quiet chap really. 🙂 )