Thee Short Story

I love a talking book, me
User avatar
squirrelboutique
Posts: 3590
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2007 18:05

Thee Short Story

Post by squirrelboutique » Thu Oct 04, 2007 21:52

I used thee up there because I like it more than the. I should warn you; I stink at book talk. I know what I like, but I think maybe I don't say much other than "Hey, I like this, so maybe you will, too."

I like short stories; they were my favorite part of having to read so much lit as an English major.

John Cheever is maybe my current favorite, but the other night I grabbed some Carson McCullers off the shelf. She's perfect. You could maybe try the story I'm about to post below for starters. You can fall in love with the places and people she writes about, mostly because they are sometimes very sad and sort of dusty and grimey and broken-down.

You can read "A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud." here . It's a good title, especially once you get where it comes from.

User avatar
humblebee
Posts: 10543
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 16:33
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/atomicbeatboy
Location: Sheffields
Contact:

Post by humblebee » Fri Oct 05, 2007 10:09

I bloody love McCullers. Haven't read any for years; maybe I should start re-reading.

My favourite short stories are Salinger's. They demonstrate the perfect kind of ambiguity: the kind created by absences, by beginning and ending a narrative at unexpected places, by leaving things out. I find this much more stimulating than the kind of ambiguity created by presences, by putting a load of stuff in, by overloading the text, like, say, Woolf.

I love Katherine Mansfield's short stories as well. I love the suggestiveness and the form and just the sheer prettiness of the detail. Hmm, they're due a re-read as well I reckon.

Dan
Posts: 264
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2007 22:56
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/

Post by Dan » Mon Oct 08, 2007 23:20

True to form, I might as well take this opportunity to pimp Donald Barthelme to anyone who cares to listen, like the kind of lunatic you pray won't sit next to you on the bus.
humblebee wrote:My favourite short stories are Salinger's. They demonstrate the perfect kind of ambiguity: the kind created by absences, by beginning and ending a narrative at unexpected places, by leaving things out. I find this much more stimulating than the kind of ambiguity created by presences, by putting a load of stuff in, by overloading the text, like, say, Woolf.
Not that lunatics on the bus have ever wanted to discuss literature with me, but that's not my point. My point is that 60 Stories is without a single shadow of a doubt the best collection of short stories I've ever come across. I've never read any of Salinger's, but your description of them would fit Barthelme almost perfectly; you could read The Dolt for a fine example of the difficulties of beginnings and endings or See The Moon? with the whole "fragments or the only form I trust" thing or there's probably nothing that deals with absence better than The Dead Father/A Manual for Sons or really you could just read any one of a few dozen other stories by him.

Really, I love him so much, I hope that McSweeney's devoted to him isn't fucking shit.

User avatar
JohaN
Posts: 337
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:03
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/
Location: adamastor's adam's apple

Post by JohaN » Wed Nov 07, 2007 11:53

david, you should read "after the quake" too -honey pie is probably in my top 10 short stories of all time

and yes: salinger sets the benchmark for me, too.
closely followed by barthelme!

david foster wallace is unbeatable when he gets it right: for much the same reasons as humblebee gives for salinger.
i think the collection "girl with curious hair" is a must for any short story-lover
(there used to some nice stories online, but it appears no longer to be the case!)

now, i'm going to sit down and waste my employer's time by reading that mccullers story...

User avatar
humblebee
Posts: 10543
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 16:33
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/atomicbeatboy
Location: Sheffields
Contact:

Post by humblebee » Wed Nov 07, 2007 11:57

Good piece in the Guardian review section last Saturday about short stories and the short story form. By somebody called Richard Ford. It's here if anyone has the patience to read it all online.

User avatar
schlump
Posts: 382
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2007 15:47
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/
Location: partickles

Post by schlump » Wed Nov 07, 2007 13:20

encompassing most of the people mentioned thus far, i'm reading - and wholly endorse - this at the moment, a compendium of various new-york themed new yorker stories; barthelme, salinger, cheever, roth, they're all in there. i just read a fantastic susan sontag short.

also, another vote for salinger. aside from nine stories, some of the twenty two (un/)published shorts are just stunning - soft boiled sergeant and the heart of a broken story.

alongwalkhome

Post by alongwalkhome » Wed Nov 07, 2007 14:20

That NY anthology sounds awesome.

Booty/Gloom: I've bought me some Flan. O'C. on your recommendation but haven't cracked the spine yet. Maybe after I finish the two biographies I've got going.

User avatar
JohaN
Posts: 337
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:03
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/
Location: adamastor's adam's apple

Post by JohaN » Wed Nov 07, 2007 14:43

elvis prestello wrote:aside from nine stories, some of the twenty two (un/)published shorts are just stunning - soft boiled sergeant and the heart of a broken story.
hang on - where can one get hold of those? what does "(un/)published" mean? goddammit - i've never heard of those!
i just know the 9, raise high etc and f&z!

marcy: flannery o'c (season 3) is indeed excellent - though i don't know her stories as such. i do, however, own a collection of articles, odd essays and a few story-like things in, and they're wonderfully written. there's one, in particular (about peacocks) that's really stuck in my mind

oh - and yes, isn't that carson story beautiful? it could be almost like a life-style/aesthetic manifesto...

User avatar
schlump
Posts: 382
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2007 15:47
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/
Location: partickles

Post by schlump » Thu Nov 08, 2007 09:21

hang on - where can one get hold of those? what does "(un/)published" mean? goddammit - i've never heard of those!
i just know the 9, raise high etc and f&z!
well: salinger was a story writer, in the way most of those old guys were. they'd write shorts for the magazines of the time that carried such thing; famously and enduringly the new yorker, but stuff like esquire, too, a big magazine filled with journalism, essays, satire and stories. salinger wrote a lot of stories, largely before, and during, the stuff he published - if memory serves, things like franny first appeared in the new yorker - possibly even zooey, too, monopolising a whole magazine, but i'm not sure about that. a couple of the nine stories appeared as shorts, and his most substantial unpublished work, which was almost re-published ten years ago, hapworth 16, 1924, was another magazine thing. there are a so called '22 stories', a while ago bootlegged into a book (that some american libraries still possess), which collate the twenty two salinger published formally, in magazines. one is re-printed in the new yorker compendium i'm reading, an earlier version of some of holden's adventures from about two thirds of the way through of catcher. the caulfields particularly, but i think the glass family too, pop up in the stories. there are - to confuse things even further - a bunch of stories under lock and key in various libraries like that of harvard university - things he wrote that weren't ever published in magazines. anyway. the 22 stories are rigorously kept watch on by his legal team, but exist on the internet and aren't that hard to find (shoot me a pm if you have no luck, etc). the two i mentioned are my favourite, but i'm rationing them, as once they're gone, i'm gonna have to go to boston. they're really potent, concise, romantic and beautiful pieces of work, anyhow.

i think the thread is probably de-railing if we stray into essays as shorts, but simply for how lyrical and readable her writing is, i love joan didion's short pieces in the white album. i can't emember who else's shorts i like. has anyone read the richard yates ones?

User avatar
JohaN
Posts: 337
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:03
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/
Location: adamastor's adam's apple

Post by JohaN » Thu Nov 08, 2007 09:44

brilliant thanks!
i had no idea about this - i'm off to google as* i type

*after

edit: WOW! goldmine!

http://www.terebess.hu/english/salinger.html

User avatar
squirrelboutique
Posts: 3590
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2007 18:05

Post by squirrelboutique » Thu Nov 08, 2007 15:41

gloom button wrote:
alongwalkhome wrote: Booty/Gloom: I've bought me some Flan. O'C. on your recommendation but haven't cracked the spine yet. Maybe after I finish the two biographies I've got going.
I've been trying to think of other southern gothic type short story writers but I'm drawing a blank. I'd love to read some more of that kind of thing.
Eudora Welty! And Faulkner! Capote! Tennessee Williams!

Capote's are particularly dark, and Welty's are really funny.

saviourette
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 16:42
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/
Location: nyc
Contact:

Post by saviourette » Thu Nov 08, 2007 16:22

oooh southern gothic. my last non-art class at scad was a southern lit class. the class was such a fucking joke but, despite the shitty-ness of the course, i hung onto the book because it's full of fun short stories that we never got to read. because the class was lame.

alongwalkhome

Post by alongwalkhome » Thu Nov 08, 2007 21:54

JohaN wrote:brilliant thanks!
i had no idea about this - i'm off to google as* i type

*after

edit: WOW! goldmine!

http://www.terebess.hu/english/salinger.html
SWEET!! It's the stuff of legends. I'm printing it out right now and will be so happy reading tonight! Thanks, you guys!

alongwalkhome

Post by alongwalkhome » Thu Nov 08, 2007 21:59

p.s.--I very much like the fiction in this week's New Yorker: Brooklyn Circles. That doesn't happen terribly often for me.

User avatar
schlump
Posts: 382
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2007 15:47
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/
Location: partickles

Post by schlump » Fri Nov 09, 2007 08:42

I very much like the fiction in this week's New Yorker: Brooklyn Circles. That doesn't happen terribly often for me.
how come? is the new yorker fiction not-so-hot? i think about buying it sometimes and never have, although the book i'm reading (there's another one, too, by the way, called life stories - i don't know the authors) makes it seem like a good idea.

i'd check out some flannery o'connor recommendations?, if anyone had any definitive ones? i'm fond of mccullers and capote.

User avatar
JohaN
Posts: 337
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:03
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/
Location: adamastor's adam's apple

Post by JohaN » Fri Nov 09, 2007 08:54

last night, in a conversation, i was reminded of one of my favourite short stories (as you do): dorothy parker's "you were perfectly fine last night"... which i'm pretty sure was at least partly the inspiration behind the magnetic fields' "the night you can't remember"

here it is, in all its forthy champagne splendour:
http://www.inspirationbit.com/a-bit-of- ... ctly-fine/


i sometimes wonder if dorothy parker isn't one of those people whose name a lot of people know, but who isn't read by many people... which is a shame.
maybe (hopefully) i'm wrong

User avatar
schlump
Posts: 382
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2007 15:47
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/
Location: partickles

Post by schlump » Fri Nov 09, 2007 10:21

yeh. i like dorothy parker, but i haven't read her for a few years. i don't think she's desperately fashionable. she might be in the new yorker thing i keep referring to. there's a bit in the intro which excuses notable omissions by mentioning that they don't hold up to present-day reading. i don't think that she's included in this, but i wonder if it affects her popularity. i'll have to read that story, i think i've only read her poetry and very short shorts.

User avatar
aorta
Posts: 539
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 22:37
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/
Location: Balamory

Post by aorta » Fri Nov 09, 2007 17:16

Ray Bradbury has some good ones. "Nothing Changes" is astory about a man who finds a bunch of old high school yearbooks in an old bookstore and all the pitures are the same as his class even though the yearbook was published 8 years before his birth. It's in the book Driving Blind which has some other good stories.
IT狂人
if i could change your mind, i'd really love to break your heart

User avatar
JohaN
Posts: 337
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:03
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/
Location: adamastor's adam's apple

Post by JohaN » Mon Nov 12, 2007 12:16

was it he who also wrote a collection called "the day it rained forever"? i think so - those were really nice too...

erm... no-one's mentioned carver yet? probably very obvious, but i DO love carver... a lot!

User avatar
Wise Child
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun Aug 17, 2008 17:37

Re: Thee Short Story

Post by Wise Child » Fri Aug 29, 2008 20:30

When writing a short story, does one need to worry about plot?

Is it more about character?

Of course, these depends upon the story. It seems much short fiction involves a pivotal action that takes the story to a conclusion.

I know, I don't make much sense.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest