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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

To read about movies and TV shows I'm watching, visit my other blog: Elliot's Watching

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Let's not call it a novella

I think it was Katherine Anne porter who objected to use of the then-voguish term novella soni'll oblige her spirit and call the hundred-page story I'm reading - the cracked looking glass - a long story Esp as it's included in the 100 years of best american short stories collection. And I guess the term is accurate because it doesn't have the breadth or scope of a novel - focusing on one married couple and one plot event - but is much more deeply developed in back story then most short fiction. Story concerns a couple both Irish immigrants settled on a somewhat remote farm in Connecticut some time in the 1930s - husband at least 20 years older than wife a retired head waiter and physically very run down while she is young and spirited. The marriage was a mistake for bothe obviously. Much of the first half is from his point of view as he hears her discussing things and gossiping often about him w flirtatious salesmen who come to the door (as the used to do - a staple element of much short fiction of the era). Story shifts somewhat as wife determines to visit sister in Boston - she'd had a vision that her sister was ill and needed her - but it's clear to us if not to her that she is seeking independence- on arriving in Boston after overnight boat ride - yes travel was different the! - her sister seems to have vanished. They were not close but this is extreme - and a window into the world a century ago when communication was difficult and sporadic.

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