300 short stories: story 289

story: “Something Amazing”

author: Elizabeth McCracken

year: 2015

where: Father of the Gazelle

note: Made me think of the stories of my grandmother climbing the wooden rollercoaster at Clementon Amusement Park when she was a girl.

a line:  “The soul is liquid, and slow to evaporate. The body’s a bucket and liable to slosh. Grieving, haunted, heartbroken, obsessed: your friends will tell you to cheer up. What they really mean is dry up.”

theme(s):  Ghost, loss, childhood, siblings


300 short stories: story 288

story: “Some Terpsichore”

author: Elizabeth McCracken

year: 2015

where: Father of the Gazelle

note: I remember how in Latin class, Ms. Helmbright named each us of after a muse.

a line:  “Still, I secretly believed I could sing. My only evidence was the pleasure singing brought me. Most common mistake in the world, believing that physical pleasure and virtue are in any way related, directly or indirectly.”

theme(s): Abuse, talent, fame, love

300 short stories: story 287

story: “Thunderstruck”

author: Elizabeth McCracken

year: 2015

where: Father of the Gazelle

note: Novella

a line:  “Laura was more outgoing, so she had to introduce her brother to friends–but once she had her own children she understood comparison was necessary. It was how you discovered their personalities: the light of one child threw the other child into relief, no different from how she, at thirteen, had known what she looked like only by comparing the length of her legs and the color of her hair to her friends and their legs and their hair.”

theme(s):  Fathers and daughters, Americans abroad, loss, brain damage

300 short stories: story 273

story: “Juliet”

author: Elizabeth McCracken

year: 2013

where: sofa, then bed; night, then morning

note: In my mind, this story took place in the Fox Chase Library in Philadelphia.

a line:  “She was a young woman, late twenties we thought, with long, loose hair. Her clothes were white, and at first we thought she was in uniform, a nurse, perhaps–she had a sort of nursey look to her, sweet and determined and recently divorced.”

theme(s): Murder, libraries, family, strangers

300 short stories: story 243

story: “It’s Bad Luck to Die”

author: Elizabeth McCracken

year: 1993

where: Saadiyat Beach Club poolside with Big Gate

note: I really liked the complexity of the mother character in this story.

a line: “My life drove my mother crazy. All she wanted was for me to become mirculously blank. I broke her heart–that was my job. She let me know her heart was broken–that was hers.”

theme(s): Mothers and daughters, love, acceptance