Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A perfect portion?

Any short-story lovers out there? For many readers, summertime is the best time to dip into that epic novel you’ve been saving for vacation time. Cutting for Stone, anyone? For others of us (yours truly), the summer is an even busier time of year, and it becomes more difficult to steal away with a novel: the kids are home, and work still knocks at the doors of the brain. In seasons like these, a short story is like a perfectly portioned dessert: it satisfies, and there’s nothing wasted.

photo credit
Patrick West, a professor of creative writing at Australia’s Deakin University, suggested in this article that a great short story can be seen from two perspectives that, at first glance, seem contradictory: On the one hand, “The writing should feel like part of a world brimming over with other stories,” or, in other cases, “The writing should feel like a world unto itself, as if … nothing, neither words nor anything else, could be imagined beyond its seamless, unique borders.” Which style leaves you feeling most satisfied? What short story collections do you find yourself thinking of or returning to whenever you need this just-right portion?
Yes, I’m looking for a summer reading list. A short one.

Tags: short stories


Speedy said...

I always enjoy James Joyce's collection, "Dubliners."

Erin Healy said...

James Joyce wrote something short? I'm teasing, Speedy. Thanks for the recommendation. I haven't read "Dubliners."