May 15, 2007

Short Stories

My Short Story Quest of the week is going well so far.

Yesterday I read Susanna Clarke's "The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse". I suppose this story is more enjoyable if you've read Neil Gaiman's "Stardust", but it can also be enjoyed by those who haven't. Susanna Clarke's elegant use of language is visible in this story, as is her use of historical figures in fantasy settings - in this case, Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington. The tale tells of the Duke's short stay in the village of Wall, and of his brief incursion into Faerie. It's a very nice little story and I enjoyed it a lot. You can read it here.

Today I read "A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud." by Carson McCullers. I don't know much about Carson McCullers. I printed this story a few months ago for a reason, but I can no longer remember what it was. Perhaps I saw it mentioned on a Message Board somewhere. Anyway, I wouldn't call this story a favourite of mine, but I'm still glad I read it. The story tells of a brief conversation between a strange man and a young boy in a café, and it's about... about the love of little things, if you can say it's about something in specific at all. Here's a passage I particularly liked:
"But a sudden piece of glass on a sidewalk. Or a nickel tune in a music box. A shadow on a wall at night. And I would remember. It might happen in a street and I would cry or bang my head against a lamppost. You follow me?"

"A piece of glass . . ." the boy said.

"Anything. I would walk around and I had no power of how and when to remember her. You think you can put up a kind of shield. But remembering don't come to a man face forward—it corners around sideways. I was at the mercy of everything I saw and heard. Suddenly instead of me combing the countryside to find her, she begun to chase me around in my very soul. She chasing me mind you! And in my soul."
You can read this story here


  1. Great self-challenge idea. I love short stories and go through phases where I forget about them for some reason and it is always nice to be reminded to go back to them. I look forward to the short stories in the new Wizards book.

  2. The exact same happens with me.

    That Wizard collection seems great. I look forward to reading your thoughts on it.


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