300 short stories:: story 208

story: “The Salt Garden”

author: Margaret Atwood

year: 1983

where: Dubai, Common Ground

note: I adore this collection and find the protagonist Alma to be so layered.

a line: “She can’t remember ever having astonished any of her friends with tricks from the instruction book. Astonishing herself was enough.”

theme(s): time

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300 short stories:: story 204 & 205

story: Two Stories about Emma “The Whirlpool Rapids” & “Walking on Water”

author: Margaret Atwood

year: 1987

where: home

note: In every story you hope to find an aha moment, and in these two connected tales, I found more than one; this was particularly true for the line below, where a man acted just like this towards me when I was in my early twenties in a hotel room in a faraway city. It was my first time experiencing this, but it has happened twice more with different men. And as women, we must find some way to reconcile that these accomplished men probably forget the incidents at all.

a line: “Emma said it looked like Newfoundland. Robbie had never been to Newfoundland, and sulked. He didn’t like the thought of Emma having been to places he hadn’t. Emma, to restore his good homur–it was too hot to be angry–said she never actually been there, she’d only seen pictures of it.”

300 short stories:: story 200

story: “Loulou; or, the Domestic Life of the Language”

author: Margaret Atwood

year: 1986

where: in the taxi, on the way to work

note: If I ever login to Facebook, I see these advertisements for Atwood’s online Masterclass and each time, it makes me want to read more of her fiction.

a line: “’Loulou thinks to reify means to make real,’ says Phil to everyone, when he’s hung up the phone. They’re always talking about her in the third person like that, telling each other what she thinks. The truth is that she’s never heard that word before in her life.”

300 short stories:: story 102

story: Uglypuss 

author: Margaret Atwood (pre-The Handmaid’s Tale)

year: 1983

where: london, black coffee

note: this story is featured in the phenomenal collection, Bluebeard’s Egg. It also has an intriguing POV swap near the end.

a line: “Tonight, she feels dingy, old. Soon she will start getting into the firming cream; she will start worrying about her eyelids. Beginning again is supposed to be exciting, a challenge. Beginning again is fine as an idea, but what with? She’d used it all up; she’s used up.”

100 days 100 short stories:: story seventeen

story: Where Do You Go?  

author: Samar Farah Fitzgerald

year: 2013

where: in bed, surrounded by luggage needed to be packed

note: the lake, the lush sleepy town, feels pushed up against Margaret Atwood’s Bluebeard’s Egg, utterly enjoyable (both stories)

a line: “And at some point, Vega’s unlikely reaction to Henry’s attention–the very fact that she didn’t anticipate falling for anyone like him–became more exciting, more arousing to her than the adventures she could have with a man who was uncaring, unkind.”