Current Read :: Short Stories

It has been a long time since I’ve picked up a book of short stories. 

I was introduced to Alice Munro in college, and while I loved her work, had an unfortunate end to my experience with her because of a teacher who felt a master’s in education wasn’t a legitimate degree and teaching a class full of them was a waste of her summer.
However, I’ve periodically come back to Munro, thinking of her when I read short fiction, and so I recently purchased Runaway, a collection published a few years ago.  
Ahh. Short stories. While there is no doubt that I love a good novel – one that sucks you in, calls you back & makes you find 15 minutes here and there to indulge – there is something very simple and refreshing about a short story. 
Kind of like white wine. I’m a red wine girl. Love it, crave it, study it, would bathe in it. Today with brunch (more about that in another post), I had the most delicious crisp and fruity white wine. It was the 2008 Plentitude from Wolf Mountain. But I digress. 
I guess my point is, sometimes it takes taking a break from something to realize how much you enjoy it. In my limited days of writing, the short story was my choice of genre. I love the pointed characterization, the conciseness of the narrative, the lack of waste. In a short story, everything counts. 
Munro is a gem. The NY Times quote on the cover of this collections says she has “strong claim to being the best fiction writer now working in North America.” I can’t disagree. I’ve finished 5 of the 8, and they are all really good. Poignant, memorable characters – women – whose complex relationships create bittersweet ghosts that stay with you after the reading. No love relationship is left unturned – parent, child, lover, in-law, friend. 
While I am boasting the virtues of short fiction, three of the stories have been about the same character in three different stages of her life, and I really enjoyed those. While they are separate and have individual merit, the emotions crescendo when read together. 
In short (insert smiley face here), it feels like coming home. 


Powered by Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.