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

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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 199

story: “Ulrikke”

author: Jorge Luis Borges

year: 1975

where: home on the range

note: I like chance meetings.

a line: “The pronouncement was an attempt at wit, and I sensed this wasn’t the first time she’d voiced it. I later learned that it was not like her—but what we say is not always like us.”

300 short stories:: story 192

story: “Poppies”

author: Ulrica Hume

year: 2013

where: on the bus

note: A mother-daughter story! What great characters and writing!

a line: “’When you’re my age,’ she said, ‘You’ll understand about certain men, and all the trouble they’re not worth.’”

300 short stories:: story 189

story: “Man-eating Cats”

author: Haruki Murakami

year: 2006

where: in palestra

note: a reread, a favorite, a fantasy!

a line: “The wind was the wind at the edge of the world. An inescapable retro color filled the place. It made me feel as if I were being quietly swallowed up by an alien reality, something foreign and just out of reach, vague yet strangely gentle. And the shadow of that substance colored the faces, the eyes, the skin of the people gathered in the harbor.”