Monday, June 29, 2009

Short Story Project Update

Last week, I finished reading Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth. The final three stories are linked, alternately focusing on Hema and Kaushik, a girl and a boy who are thrown together as children when Kaushik's family returns to the U.S. and stay with Hema's family for a while. Although they are not friends and their parents do not remain close friends, thier short time together leaves a lasting impression on them both. In the final story, their reunion and subsequent coupling is not unexpected, but Hema's ultimate decision about their relationship, while probably not the desired ending for many readers, is completely fitting with her character. I really enjoyed these three stories. With this book, Lahiri has further cemented her place in my list of authors I love, authors whose books I will buy as soon as they are released.

Other short stories that I have read since my last post:
  • The opening story in J. D. Salinger's Nine Stories: "A Perfect Day for Bananafish." This story concerns Seymour Glass, a World War II combat veteran, who is not coping very well with the return to civilian life. He is probably suffering from a post-traumatic stress disorder, but I don't think it was being called that in the late 40s/early 50s.
  • Another story from Nine Stories, "For Esme--with Love and Squalor." I think this story has appeared in many anthologies. I recognize the title, but I don't think I ever read it. It is another post-World War II story. I found it funny and sad. In this story, Clay relives a meeting he had in England during the war with a young girl and her brother and the lasting impression that the meeting had on him.
  • On a much lighter note, "The Macbeth Murder Mystery" by James Thurber. Have you ever read any Thurber? I think I have only read two of his stories before this one, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" and "The Catbird Seat"--both read a very long time ago, but if I remember correctly they are silly on the surface, but the silliness reveals a deeper, more serious problem lurking under the surface. Well, "The Macbeth Murder Mystery" is just silly to me. Still, I wish I had used it when I taught Macbeth all those years.
  • Another silly story, "Carry on Jeeves" by PG Wodehouse. A very funny story that I found in book at a bed and breakfast that Valerie and I stayed in on our recent trip to the Hill Country (I need to blog about our trip soon too). I had never read any Wodehouse but have intended to for a while.
  • Two short stories Alice Munro, but I'm saving them for another post.
  • Another by Salinger's Nine Stories, "Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut." This story is about two former college roommates who get together for lunch and end up spending the afternoon getting drunk while catching up and reminiscing. I'm not sure what I think about this story. I just read it this morning and haven't had time to fully process my thoughts. Maybe I will post more thoughts about it later.
Okay, that's enough for now. I need to do something else for a while today. Later.


Valerie said...

I'm your interview partner for BBAW. Hello :-). I LOVED "Unaccustomed Earth" and the story of Hema and Kaushik!

Will be in touch soon about interviewing each other :-).

Kim said...

Hey Valerie! Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to our interview swap. :-)