300 short stories:: story 219

story: “And How Much of These Hills Is Gold”

author: C Pam Zhang

year: 2017

where: before work at work

note: This is a short story reworking of the first chapter of the forthcoming novel of the same name. Also, the portion about how the brother may ultimately inherit his father’s character reminds me of the father and son in The Night Tiger.

a line: “Sam’s shadow licks back at Lucy’s bare toes; in Sam’s mind the shadow is the true height, the body a temporary inconvenience. When I’m sheriff, Sam says. When I’m a wrangler. More recently: When I’m a famous outlaw. When I’m grown. Young enough to think desire alone shapes the world.’”

theme(s): Death, Frontier, Survival

 

 

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300 short stories:: story 218

story: “The Faery Handbag”

author: Kelly Link

year: 2005

where: afterwork at work

note: There is a free copy of this story online via Small Beer Press!

a line: “If you called the faery handbag by its right name, it would be something like “orzipanikanikcz,” which means the “bag of skin where the world lives,” only Zofia never spelled that word the same way twice. She said you had to spell it a little differently each time. You never wanted to spell it exactly the right way, because that would be dangerous.’”

extra line: “The thing about Zofia and libraries is that she’s always losing library books. She says that she hasn’t lost them, and in fact that they aren’t even overdue, really. It’s just that even one week inside the faery handbag is a lot longer in library-world time.”

theme(s): Death, Magic

300 short stories:: story 217

story: “The Excursion”

author: Joy Williams

year: 1972

where: Dining hall on Saadiyat

note: What a fascinating story construction; Williams moves seamlessly in and out of childhood and adulthood of the protagonist.

a line: “Jenny lies a little. She is just a little girl, a child with fears. She fears that birds will fly out of the toilet bowl. Starlings with slick black wings. She fears trees and fishes and the bones in meat. She lies a little but it is not considered serious.’”

theme(s): Childhood, Sexuality, Truth

300 short stories:: story 216

story: “The Wedding ”

author: Joy Williams

year: 1972

where: home, home on the range, where the deer and the antelope play

note: The ending reminds me of the Chagall painting “Over the Town”…also his “Wedding” but not as much!

a line: “The people in Elizabeth’s fables were always looking for truth or happiness and they were always being given mirrors or lumps of coals. Elizabeth’s stories were inhabited by wolves and cart horses and solipsists.’”

theme(s): Love, Marriage, Storytelling

300 short stories:: story 215

story: “Taking Care”

author: Joy Williams

year: 1972

where: NYUAD Library

note: POV is so interesting in this story; I like how Williams keeps us locked onto the character Jonas, but then flies over to his daughter in Mexico or into the future.

a line: “She is going to Mexico, where soon, in the mountains, she will have a nervous breakdown. Jones does not know this, but his daughter has seen it in the stars and is going out to meet it.’”

theme(s): Afterlife, Anagogy, Family

300 short stories:: story 214

story: “The Lover”

author: Joy Williams

year: Originally published in 1973 in Esquire 

where: Abu Dhabi

note: I’ve been reading Joan Silber’s non-ficiton book The Art of  Time in Fiction, which explores the various ways writers convey the passage of time in their stories, and maybe that is why I am so mesmerized by how Williams’ moves through months and years in this story. She does it multiple ways in different parts of the narrative!

a line: “She and the man travel all over the South in his white convertible. The girl brings dolls and sandals and sugar animals back to the child. Sometimes the child travels with them.’”

theme(s): Love, Motherhood, Insomnia

300 short stories:: story 211 & 212 & 213

story: “The Lonesome Bodybuilder” & “Q&A” & “Fitting Room”

author: Yukiko Motoya

year: 2018 (English translation)

where: Around Hiroshima

note:  “The Lonesome Bodybuilder” had a very different ending than I had expected, but “Fitting Room” was probably the most strange and enjoyable of the three, though they all have their own level of discomfort, of being a bit off-kilter.

a line: “I stood up and went to the window, and nervously struck a pose at him. Both arms up and bent by my head, chest out, emphasizing my V-taper. My husband looked incredulous as I posed in my bikini.’”

theme(s): loss of identity, lack of intimacy