400 short stories: story 319

story: “A Visit of Charity”

author: Eudora Welty

year: 1963

where: Burj al Salam, Dubai

note: Great introduction from Ann Patchett to Welty’s The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty.

a line: “ ‘Did you come to be our little good for a while?’ the first robber asked.”

theme(s): Old Age, Old women, Charity, health


400 short stories: story 317

story: “The Ice Wagon Going Down the Street”

author: Mavis Gallant

year: 1963

where: Burj al Salam, Dubai

note: reread

a line: “Snow, which he tasted, melted on her hands. His gesture of licking snow from her hands was formal as a handshake.”

theme(s): Self-delusion, expatriate life, storytelling, loyalty

400 short stories: story 313

story: “A Dream of Men”

author: Mary Gaitskill

year: 1988

where: Home, kitchen table

note:  Apparently this story is discussed by Ben Marcus and Deborah Treisman on an episode of The New Yorker: Fiction podcast; I’ll have to give it a listen this week. 

a line: “Ever since then, Laura had felt good around Dr. Ramirez. Every time she saw her, she thought, Ways to be a loving person.”

theme(s): Sexuality, death, aging, desire

400 short stories: story 311

story: “The Stone”

author: Louise Erdrich

year: 2019

where: Happiness Island

note:  “This story is about finding solace in an entity that isn’t human.” -Erdrich

a line: “A stone is, in its own way, a living thing, not a biological being but one with a history far beyond our capacity to understand or even imagine.”

& “A stone is a thought that the earth develops over inhuman time. It is a living thing to some cultures and a dead thing to others.”

theme(s): Inanimate and animate objects,

400 short stories: story 310

story: “The Grozny Tourist Bureau”

author: Anthony Marra

year: 2015

where: Casa, sonnolento

note: The opening image of the verdigris-encrusted statue rising from the debris reminds me of Shelley’s “Ozymandias.”

a line: “The minister set down his silverware and began sorting through the little trout bones on his plate, reconstructing the skeleton of the fish he had consumed.”

theme(s): Postwar, loss, disability, tourism industry