Monday, June 10, 2013

My name is Joanna and...

I am a short story addict. I don't know when this happened, exactly. However, I suspect my "gateway" story was A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

In the story, a villager finds an old, decrepit, dying man with enormous, yet lice-ridden and bedraggled, wings in his courtyard. The projectory of the story is how he, his wife and other villagers react to the presence of the old man, alternating between fascination, revulsion, indifference, and cruelty.

What spurred my imagination, however, was what the story didn't say. I think I read once that, while novels create an entire world for the reader, a short story is more like a small island, or iceberg. What we see on the surface eludes to a whole world unspoken beneath it.

I won't spoil Marquez's story with my own interpretation of the unspoken world beneath it; I'll simply suggest it as an incredible, magical, gritty and thought-provoking piece of literature. Here are some of my other favorite collections:

Product DetailsWhat We Talk About When We Talk About Love, by Raymond Carver.
Product DetailsThe Complete Stories, by Flannery O'Connor.
The Moons Of JupiterThe Moons of Jupiter, by Alice Munro.
Product DetailsVictory over Japan, by Ellen Gilchrist.


  1. Joanna -

    If you have not already done so, please avail yourself a read of Junot Diaz's wonderful short story collection, THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE HER. I was absolutely CAPTIVATED by the voice in his stories - and found myself wishing that I understood more Spanish, as there is much dialogue sprinkled liberally throughout the stories. The stories pick up the tale of a character named Yunior, who was introduced in Mr. Diaz's novel (the title of which I am blanking on at present -sorry!), which came out around 10 or so years ago. You don't WANT to like Yunior, and he has MUCH to not like about his character, yet you find yourself DRAWN to him, as he also has some very lovable parts about him, to which you are drawn. I heard Mr. Diaz interviewed by Jian Gomeshi on"Q", a CBC radio production, and HE said the same thing about his character! It is a wonderful interview - take a listen if you are so inclined.

    As a lover of short stories, I would heartily recommend this collection to you! And thank you for your suggestions!! :-)
    Happy Reading!

  2. Wonderful suggestion! I've read some stories by Diaz in collections of short stories by different authors (my one expected Xmas present every year is the newest of the "Best American Short Stories" series, which comes out around Xmas every year. :-) He is indeed an awesome writer, and I'll look into getting that collection from my own local library soon!