Last year there was an International Short Story Day and… I guess I missed it!

On one of the official website’s pages is a collection of writers recommending one ‘classic’ and one ‘modern’ short story. Some have online links.

No major thoughts, other than Nabokov’s “Signs and Symbols” and Lawrence’s “The Odour of Chrysanthemums” factor strongly. No complaints there! Though I should say the D.H. Lawrence story is badly titled. Or, at least, I often have to check a synopsis to make sure it’s the story I think it is.

Playing the same game, to an audience of one… This is tough. Rather, I know what my modern story is, but classic one… I should put up Bartleby, the Scrivener but I’ll pass that by out of random pique.

Leo Tolstoy, “The Three Hermits”. Short story as parable. Everyone knows the count’s titanic novels. Most everyone knows the massive novellas. Yet it’s actively hard to find a book of his short stories, though at least you’ll find “Alyosha the Pot” and “How Much Land Does A Man Need?” and “God Sees The Truth, But Waits” often in larger old fashioned anthologies. I don’t share his spirituality but admire it just the same, deeply.

James Graham Ballard, “The Drowned Giant”. The story that followed me from childhood until I discovered its writer was quite a guy. Much about this one has impacted me, lately the refusal to get into the rationale or history of the strange: it just is. And then we turn away, not able to keep caring.


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