300 short stories:: story 153

story: Cecilia Awakened 

author: Tessa Hadley

year: 2018

where:  il mio ufficio


a line: “Her mother, Cecilia’s grandmother, who was elegant and drank and had lovers, had remonstrated when Angela was younger: if only she’d move more gracefully, less jerkily, if only she’d try contact lenses and wear dresses instead of shirts and slacks. Angela had advanced unhappily toward middle age, when such pressures would surely come to an end. And then before she was forty, when she was on her third book—her second had been a minor hit—and just around the time that she met Ken, her mother died, and so never knew that her awkward daughter had succeeded in hooking a man after all. Weeping angry tears, Angela allowed herself this bitterness when the funeral was over, mocking herself and her mother—but only when she was alone, in her most private thoughts.”


300 short stories:: story 152

story: The Ice Wagon Going Down the Street

author: Mavis Gallant

year: 1963, originally; 2002 collection (reprint)

where:  mon bureau

note: the title of this collection comes from the fact that Gallant wrote these stories in Paris, but they are set in many places

a line: “His social compass was out of order because the others couldn’t tell Peter and Agnes apart.”

300 short stories:: story 148

story: The Impractical Door 

author: Chris Haven

year: 2018

where:  Abu Dhabi Central Post Office, Ladies-only waiting area

note: This time last year I was reading Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West, another story with doors.

a line: “I opened the door probably six months ago. Anyhow, I am bathed in light. It is a gorgeous, golden light that feels like nothing I’ve ever experienced.”

300 short stories:: story 147

story: Wealth and Poverty (Himpuku-ron)

author: Ueda Akinari

year: 1776

where: bed

note: from Ugetsu Monogatari or Tales of Moonlight and Rain (Routledge Revivals) : A Complete English Version of the Eighteenth-Century Japanese Collection of Tales of the Supernatural, Routledge, 2012

a line: “If a man is idle, he can in time consume even Mt T’ai. In the end he can drink dry even the rivers and oceans.”

extra line: “It’s impossible for any samurai to sleep peacefully on his pillow. As matters stand now, the government seems un­likely to endure. Can anyone bring unity and give the people peace?”