Monday, April 25, 2011
A striking example of how the same people whose novels make life worth living write short stories that leave me luke warm. I laugh out loud at "Come Rain or Come Shine," and very much enjoy "Malvern Hills" and "Nocturne," but I miss the emotional connection that comes from spending time with the characters in When We Were Orphans and Never Let Me Go. It seems as though I have a problem with the form, because I could say the same about Roth and Murakami. Then again there are others whose sense of humor carries the day, even with stories over ten pages long: Franz Kafka, Roald Dahl, and Stephen King. Poet James Tate wrote an excellent collection of short stories. Faulkner wrote some not so memorable, but "Two Soldiers" and the stories that extend or continue the lives of characters in his novels are iirreplaceable. Then there are people who write stories of five pages or less that serve up the same kind of impact as a good poem: Lydia Davis, Shirley Jackson, Heinrich Boll, Luisa Valenzuela. So there are short stories I wouldn't want to live without, but nothing stays with you like The Sound and the Fury or The Windup Bird Chronicles.