300 short stories: story 283

story: “Train”

author: Alice Munro

year: 2012

where: post-Flywheel, Social House (terrible breakfast)

note: “I have never kept diaries. I just remember a lot and am more self-centered than most people,” from an interview with Alice Munro about the book. This story went in places I did not expect it to go.

a line:  “She had caught the terrible flu of 1918 in which so many people died, and when she came out of it she was strange. Not really mute, because she could make words, but had lost many of them.”

theme(s): Post-WWII, trains, small towns, country vs. city, running away


300 short stories: story 282

story: “To Reach Japan”

author: Alice Munro

year: 2012

where: Starbucks, Festival City

note: I picked up this book for only 39 dirhams–Dear Life–and the writing is so good, so much denser than what I’ve been reading, books by younger contemporary female writers, mostly. Her style (as well as the font) reminds me of the Maeve Binchy books of my childhood.

a line:  “In the decade that they had already entered but that she at least had not taken much notice of, there was going to be a lot of attention paid to this sort of thing. Being there was to mean something it didn’t use to mean.”

theme(s): Adultery, feminism, marriage, writing life, mothers and daughters, trains

300 short stories: story 254 & 255

story: “The Fifth Story” & “Happy Endings”

author: Clarice Lispector & Margaret Atwood

year: here and there 🙂 1950s & 1980s

where: Abu Dhabi

note: Putting these two together since their forms are similar.

a line: “In the mouths of some of the cockroaches, there are traces of white powder. I am the first to observe the dawn breaking over Pompeii.”

& “Mary gets run-down. Crying is bad for your face, everyone knows that and so does Mary but she can’t stop. People at work notice. Her friends tell her John is a rat, a pig, a dog, he isn’t good enough for her, but she can’t believe it. Inside John, she thinks, is another John, who is much nicer. This other John will emerge like a butterfly from a cocoon, a Jack from a box, a pit from a prune, if the first John is only squeezed enough.”

theme(s): Storytelling, reality, metafiction