Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Short stories

I'm going to try and get caught up with my book reviews in the near future. I've written for everything I've read. I just need to post it.

As I wrote back in my review of T.C. Boyle's The Human Fly and Other Stories, I went on a run of short stories there for a little while. Not sure how exactly it happened. No, wait, I do. Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. I wanted to read some more of Boyle's works. My library had the short story collection and two novels, one of which was out, the other I had read. No brainer.

I had recommended Susanna Clarke's wonderful, wonderful, wonderful novel, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, to my illiterate friend Transfixed Ingress which made me long for something else by her. To my knowledge, she had not published anything else. Lo and behold, once I did some looking, I found that she had a collection of short stories called The Ladies of Grace Adieu. There was a single copy in our system so I requested and read it. It was pretty good, especially if you like Jane Austen crossed with faeries. I can't say I do. There was one story where Jonathan Strange makes an appearance but the short story format just does not enable Clarke to paint a masterpiece like Jonathan Strange. Clarke's depth in that book is a big part of what makes it so fabulous. Grace Adieu was good, just not my cup of tea.

The last one was a book I bought when someone donated it to the library book sale collection. I did not realize that F. Scott Fitzgerald had written a short story that was used as the inspiration for the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. But he did and the publishers used that to market a collection of his short stories they pulled together.

I did not care for Fitzgerald in high school and avoided him until the last couple of years. Now he is one of my favorite authors. These short stories are very typical for him and as such, are just a pleasure to read. They all wrap up very nicely and the prose is just excellent. I love how he captures the era and how the characters are a simultaneous blend of shallow and deep. Good stuff.

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