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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Short Stories, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 268
26. The Queen of Hearts

The Queen of Hearts. Wilkie Collins. 1859. 484 pages.

  Although it took me months to finish reading this collection of short stories by Wilkie Collins, I still found most of it to be delightful. I just LOVED the framework of this book. Three (old) men are entertaining a young lady, Jessie Yelverton. (I believe one of the men is one of her guardians?). As her visit draws to a close, one of the men in hopes of keeping her around just long enough for his son, George, to return home--he would love to have her for a daughter-in-law--proposes that she stay for ten more nights to hear ten stories. The brothers will take turns writing/telling/sharing stories. In between each of the stories, there is narrative linking them all together. The three brothers are Griffith, Owen, and Morgan. The ten stories are: Brother Owen's Story of the Black Cottage, Brother Griffith's Story of the Family Secret, Brother Morgan's Story of The Dream Woman, Brother Griffith's Story of Mad Monkton, Brother Morgan's Story of The Dead Hand, Brother Griffith's Story of the Biter Bit, Brother Owen's Story of the Parson's Scruple, Brother Griffith's Story of A Plot in Private Life, Brother Morgan's Story of Fauntleroy, Brother Owen's Story of Anne Rodway. All of the stories had been previously published in various magazines from 1855 to 1859.

My favorite part of Queen of Hearts was the framework of the narrative. I loved meeting Jessie Yelverton. I loved Griffith, Owen, and Morgan. I loved seeing how she changed their lives for the better. I loved seeing the life she brought back into their lives. And I loved seeing her come to care for these men, too. How much at home she felt with them. She wasn't anxious to depart either. Many of the stories were good; however, some of them were just so long! I felt some of them were definitely long enough to be novellas. 

Read The Queen of Hearts
  • If you enjoy Wilkie Collins
  • If you enjoy short stories
  • If you like mystery, suspense, gothic, or horror
  • If you enjoy romantic comedies

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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I received an early Christmas present today with the publication of my seasonal story, THE LOST SHEPHERD BOY, in My Light magazine. I wanted to share the story with you as well. Jack Foster, an amazing illustrator who I know through Guardian Angel Publishing, has created a wonderful illustration for the story. He captures perfectly the excited face of young Tomas discovering an unexpected Christmas treat, while his mischievous kitty, Neto, looks on.

I wish you a joyous Christmas too!

Feliz Navidad!

0 Comments on THE LOST SHEPHERD BOY as of 12/20/2012 3:46:00 PM
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28. Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: New English Version

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version. Philip Pullman. 2012. Penguin. 400 pages.

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version is a collection of fifty fairy tales. I was familiar with almost half of these, though it had probably been two decades since I last read some of them. Half of the stories were completely new to me. I probably found a few new favorites. At the conclusion of each story, Pullman shares facts, details, and opinions on the story. He tells us the type of story it is, what other tales are similar, what other cultures this type of story can be found in, what changes he made and why, what changes he would have made but didn't because he wasn't trying to write a novel, what he really thinks of each story. I found these sections to be interesting. Of course, I enjoyed the fairy tales. Some stories better than others, of course, a handful I could have done without completely. Still, I found the collection as a whole to be quite fun! The kind of book that you can read a story or two a day for several weeks of entertainment. This is NOT a book to rush through. Reading two or three fairy tales in a day is great, reading thirty a day, well, it's just TOO MUCH. You may not love, love, love each and every story in the collection. You may not find all of them to be equally worthy of your time. But. Chances are you'll find something to enjoy!

  • The Frog King, or Iron Heinrich
  • The Cat and the Mouse Set Up House
  • The Boy Who Left Home To Find Out About the Shivers
  • Faithful Johannes
  • The Twelve Brothers
  • Little Brother and Little Sister
  • Rapunzel
  • The Three Little Men in the Woods
  • Hansel and Gretel
  • The Three Snake Leaves
  • The Fisherman and His Wife
  • The Brave Little Tailor
  • Cinderella
  • The Riddle
  • The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage
  • Little Red Riding Hood
  • The Musicians of Bremen
  • The Singing Bone
  • The Devil with Three Golden Hairs
  • The Girl with No Hands
  • The Elves
  • The Robber Bridegroom
  • Godfather Death
  • The Juniper Tree
  • Briar Rose [Sleeping Beauty]
  • Snow White
  • Rumpelstiltskin
  • The Golden Bird
  • Farmerkin
  • Thousandfurs
  • Jorinda and Joringel
  • Six Who Made Their Way in the World
  • Gambling Hans
  • The Singing, Springing Lark
  • The Goose Girl
  • Bearskin
  • The Two Traveling Companions
  • Hans-my-Hedgehog
  • The Little Shroud
  • The Stolen Pennies
  • The Donkey Cabbage
  • One Eye, Two Eyes, and Three Eyes
  • The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces [Twelve Dancing Princesses]
  • Iron Hans
  • Mount Simeli
  • Lazy Heinz
  • Strong Hans
  • The Moon
  • The Goose Girl at the Spring
  • The Nixie of the Millpond

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

2 Comments on Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: New English Version, last added: 12/19/2012
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29. Today is Launch Day for MAKE BELIEVE, the Story Collection Where You Can Read Lynda Young's Short Story: BIRTHRIGHT

Lynda R. Young’s short story titled Birthright has been published by J. Taylor Publishing in the Make Believe anthology launched TODAY! Virtual cake for everyone!! Make Believe is currently available in e-book format and includes Paranormal Romance and Fantasy stories inspired by the image on the cover. This will make great holiday reading. 

Birthright by Lynda R. Young
Christa can mask the pain and hide the scars, but running from a birthright is impossible.

She’s tried to escape her grief by fleeing to a small town in Florida. Much to her frustration, the locals think they recognize her even though she's never been there before. To make things worse, a man named Jack spouts outrageous theories about her.

Both spur Christa to bolt, to start fresh yet again, but there’s something about Jack that intrigues her enough to stay. The only problem? Someone else wants her to leave, and they won’t stop until she’s dead. 

Go this minute to the J. Tayor Publishing Make Believe  website HERE to read blurbs about all the stories in this wonderful collection, as well as how to order it.

About Lynda R. Young:
Lynda R. Young lives in Sydney, Australia, with her sweetheart of a husband who is her rock, and a cat who believes world domination starts in the home. She writes speculative short stories and is currently writing novels for young adults. In her spare time she also dabbles in photography and all things creative. You can find her here: Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads  

7 Comments on Today is Launch Day for MAKE BELIEVE, the Story Collection Where You Can Read Lynda Young's Short Story: BIRTHRIGHT, last added: 12/5/2012
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30. Locus 20th & 21st Centuries Poll

Locus this month has been conducting a poll to find out the "best" science fiction and fantasy novels and short fiction of the 20th and 21st centuries. Though I first suggested on Twitter that I would be filling it all in with Raymond Carver stories, I gave in today at the last minute and instead filled in the poll with some choices other than Carver stories (though I was tempted to put "Why Don't You Dance?" on there, since it has a certain fantasy feel to it, at least to me).

I'll post my choices after the jump here.

Because I did the poll at the last minute, the choices were as much impulsive as rational. I'm not much interested in differentiating science fiction and fantasy, so I paid only the barest attention to categorization. For lengths, I used the lists Locus posted or what I could find on ISFDB, and for the few items not on either, I just relied on my own memory and guessing.

Were I to write the lists now, or tomorrow, or next week, they would be different, both in content and order. Such is the nature of these things. Only a few items are absolute for me (e.g., Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand is the best science fiction novel ever written). Many of the choices are there not because I think they are Eternally & Canonically Important (though many are) but because they remain vivid and powerful reading experiences for me. Also, some things didn't make it on because I would need to reread them to decide — for instance, I couldn't pick one of the novellas from Le Guin's Four Ways to Forgiveness, because though I'm fairly sure one of them belongs on the list, I haven't read the book recently enough to decide between them. M. John Harrison's Viriconium probably belongs on there, too, but I couldn't decide on one of the books in particular, wasn't sure if the big collection would count as a single novel, and in any case had The Course of the Heart on there already (it's another absolute for me — no list of best 20th century fantasy novels is complete without it). And then there are things that probably belong on such a list, but I've never read them, such as Gormenghast. And then there are the obvious items I forgot and will be chastising myself for tomorrow.

I know of lists from a few other folks: Niall Harrison, Cheryl Morgan, Ian Sales. Once Locus publishes the results from the poll, I'll put a link here.

Finally, I am perfectly aware that I will be the only person voting for quite a few of these.

(Note: Because I cut-and-pasted these into the Locus poll form, I deliberately removed diacritical marks and any other punctuation that might mess up the tally. And I'm being lazy here and just pasting my master list in.)

20th century science fiction novel
1. Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand by Samuel R. Delany
2. Ubik by Philip K. Dick
3. 1984 by George Orwell
4. China Mountain Zhang by Maureen McHugh
5. 334 by Thomas M. Disch
6. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
7. Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler
8. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
9. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
10. Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban

20th Century Fantasy Novel
1. The Castle by Franz Kafka
2. The Unnamable by Samuel Beckett
3. Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany
4. Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee
5. The Course of the Heart by M. John Harrison
6. The Affirmation by Christopher Priest
7. Explosion in a Cathedral by Alejo Carpentier
8. Neveryona by Samuel R. Delany
9. Mickelsson’s Ghosts by John Gardner
10. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

20th Century SF/F Novella
1. The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka
2. Empire Star, by Samuel R. Delany
3. The Stains, by Robert Aickman
4. Great Work of Time, by John Crowley
5. Souls, by Joanna Russ
6. Pastoralia, by George Saunders
7. Pork Pie Hat, by Peter Straub
8. R&R, by Lucius Shepard
9. The King’s Indian: A Tale, by John Gardner
10. Mr. Boy, by James Patrick Kelly

20th Century SF/F Novelette
1. Invaders, by John Kessel
2. The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule, by Lucius Shepard
3. The Asian Shore, by Thomas M. Disch
4. The Hell Screen, by Ryunosuke Akutagawa
5. The Hospice, by Robert Aickman
6. A Little Something for Us Tempunauts, by Philip K. Dick
7. The Juniper Tree, by Peter Straub
8. Solitude, by Ursula K. Le Guin
9. Bloodchild, by Octavia E. Butler
10. Sea Oak, by George Saunders

20th Century SF/F Short Story
1. A Country Doctor, by Franz Kafka
2. Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, by Jorge Luis Borges
3. The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, by Ursula K. Le Guin
4. Day Million, by Frederik Pohl
5. The School, by Donald Barthelme
6. Your Faces, O My Sisters! Your Faces Filled of Light!, by Raccoona Sheldon
7. Or All the Seas with Oysters, by Avram Davidson
8. The Terminal Beach, by J.G. Ballard
9. Abominable, by Carol Emshwiller
10. One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts, by Shirley Jackson

21st Century SF Novel
1. Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon
2. Light by M. John Harrison
3. Liberation by Brian Francis Slattery
4. Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders by Samuel R. Delany
5. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

21st Century Fantasy Novel
1. Shriek: An Afterword by Jeff VanderMeer
2. The People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia
3. The City & The City by China Mieville
4. Oh Pure & Radiant Heart by Lydia Millet
5. One for Sorrow by Christopher Barzak

21st Century SF/F Novella
1. Tainaron, by Leena Krohn
2. A Crowd of Bone, by Greer Gilman
3. Magic for Beginners, by Kelly Link
4. Near Zennor, by Elizabeth Hand
5. Memorare, by Gene Wolfe

21st Century SF/F Novelette
1. Stone Animals, by Kelly Link
2. Only Partly Here, by Lucius Shepard
3. Yellow Card Man, by Paolo Bacigalupi
4. The Empire of Ice Cream, by Jeffrey Ford
5. Revenge of the Calico Cat, by Stepan Chapman

21st Century SF/F Short Story
1. There’s a Hole in the City, by Richard Bowes
2. Cold Fires, by M. Rickert
3. Abraham Lincoln Has Been Shot, by Daniel Alarcon
4. Delhi, by Vandana Singh
5. Safe Passage, by Ramona Ausubel

7 Comments on Locus 20th & 21st Centuries Poll, last added: 12/4/2012
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31. The Star Trek Reader

The Star Trek Reader. Twenty-one Novelized Episodes Based on the Exciting Television Series Created by Gene Roddenberry. James Blish. 1968, 1969, 1972. Dutton. 372 pages.

This is the first volume in the book series of adaptations by James Blish. It contains three books, "Star Trek 2," "Star Trek 3," and "Star Trek 8." It was a great introduction to Blish's work. It features stories like, "The Trouble with Tribbles," "The City on the Edge of Forever," "Friday's Child," "Tomorrow is Yesterday," etc.

What surprised me is that I found myself liking the short story adaptations even when I didn't particularly remember liking the episode it was based on. (Though Spock's Brain didn't exactly improve.)

For anyone who loves the characters, the stories, the friendships, the themes of Star Trek The Original Series, this is a MUST. I enjoyed it very much. There is definitely something comforting and satisfying about it. I definitely want to reread it!

Read The Star Trek Reader
  • If you enjoy vintage science fiction
  • If you enjoy Star Trek The Original Series
  • If you enjoy short stories

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 Comments on The Star Trek Reader, last added: 12/2/2012
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32. Flash Fiction from the City of the Dead - Joan Lennon

Vist Joan's website.
Visit Joan's blog.

5 Comments on Flash Fiction from the City of the Dead - Joan Lennon, last added: 10/14/2012
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33. Tuesday Club Murders

The Tuesday Club Murders. Agatha Christie. 1932/2007. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers. 256 pages.

I enjoyed The Tuesday Club Murders. While short stories are not my favorite, I prefer novels to short stories, I still enjoyed Miss Marple. This one may best be enjoyed one story at a time. There really isn't a need to rush through these stories all at once. There are thirteen stories in all: The Tuesday Night Club, The Idol House of Astarte, Ingots of Gold, The Blood-Stained Pavement, Motive v. Opportunity, The Thumb Mark of St. Peter, The Blue Geranium, The Companion, The Four Suspects, A Christmas Tragedy, The Herb of Death, The Affair at the Bungalow, and Death by Drowning. It wasn't so much that any one story WOWED me, it was more the fact that I enjoyed the cozy atmosphere of the stories as a whole. I liked Christie's writing and her characters. It was a pleasant way to spend my time.  

Read The Tuesday Club Murders
  • If you like short stories
  • If you like mysteries
  • If you like Agatha Christie
  • If you like Miss Marple

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

2 Comments on Tuesday Club Murders, last added: 10/6/2012
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34. Christmas Comes Early


With help of authors across the country, Utah author Michael Young has compiled an anthology of short stories, each based on a different Christmas carol. All the proceeds from the anthology, SING WE NOW OF CHRISTMAS, will be donated to the National Down Syndrome Society, in honor of Michael’s two-year-old son, Bryson, who has Down Syndrome. The anthology is available in paperback and Amazon Kindle formats from Amazon.com.

Christmas carols capture the spirit of Christmas like nothing else, and Sing We Now of Christmas brings beloved carols to life like never before. 

Walk in the footsteps of good King Wenceslas.  Experience anew the bells on Christmas Day. Witness the journey of a soldier who lost his voice as he participates in the miracle of Silent Night.  Experience all this and more in these heartfelt, entertaining tales donated by a team of authors from across the country, teaming together for a good cause.

Covering twenty-five stories--one for every day through Christmas itself--this anthology is ready to become a new advent tradition for your family! 

CreateSpace eStore: https://www.createspace.com/3988322 (More money to charity this way)

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35. Wanted: a loving home for an orphaned short story opening

You may already know Five Dials, a (mainly monthly) literary magazine published by Hamish Hamilton, one of Penguin's imprints. If you don't, you probably should - the magazine is free and promotes work from both emerging and established talents.  Over the years it has featured a diverse collection of literary fiction and non-fiction from the likes of Zadie Smith, Hari Kunzru and Noam Chomsky, amongst many others.

The Five Dials team is going to start guest blogging here on The Penguin Blog - all their posts will be in the FiveDials category (we're literal minded in many ways...) so you can easily find them in the future.  And here's the first.


At Five Dials, we rarely know what's going to happen when we start putting together an issue. While assembling our 25th issue, which you can download here, we were offered the chance to hold a contest. Actually, it might be a stretch to call it a contest. It's more like we became, albeit briefly, a literary orphanage trying to find safe homes for lost children. The children, in this case, are a collection of beginnings by Vancouver-based short story writer Zsuzsi Gartner.

A while ago, we implored Zsuzsi to send in a new story for the issue. Instead, she offered up something better, both for us and for you. Below this introduction you'll find a list of beginnings to Zsuzsi stories - and, trust me, 'Zsuzsi stories' are a genre unto themselves. The scenarios come from her imagination - there's no doubt about that - but the middles and flourishes and endings will have to come from yours. These are, after all, orphans, and they deserve a good life somewhere in the world, even if it's far from their place of origin. Zsuzsi included her mailing address at the end of the fragments. I've been told she's off email these days, so aspiring writers will have to send a postcard instead. Get in there fast. Each beginning can only be adopted once. Zsuzsi even mentioned she'll send back adoption certificates to each lucky parent. The caveat: we'd like to see the resulting stories. Send Zsuzsi a postcard telling her which beginning you've chosen, write the thing, and send it to us. Who knows? We may include it in our next short fiction issue, nestled amidst names like Frank O'Connor and Lydia Davis and D.W. Wilson.

Eleven Orphaned Short Story Openings (circa 1996-2012) Looking for a Loving Home

 1) The Time I Tried: Then there was the time I tried to get my life made into a television series but failed. Everything ordinary happened to be in great demand. “Let’s hear what the ordinary people have to say,” that anchorman, the one everyone trusted, would say.


2) Karl: You would think they’d talk about money all the time. That’s what you’d think. All the time, endlessly, like a broken record, non-stop, ad naseum, infinitus spiritus amen. But they don’t. They talk about anything but. You have to make them sometimes. Get them to confront the incredible magnitude of their good fortune. Shove their faces into the enormity of it. But gently.

That’s Karl’s job.


3) Sperm Donor: The first time he saw the child he was startled that the boy looked nothing like him. My son.


4) Corner Office: Things were supposed to be different with Corner Office, brudder. Just wait ‘til Corner Office, I kept telling Twyla as her tears dripped onto the suction line offa l’il Felix’s shunt (every-so-often the generator goes and then it’s DIY), everything thing will be better when I get to Corner Office. If you could see l’il Felix now, with his flappy hands and cruxifying smile, oh your heart would surely urk.


5) Chastity: Sometimes they appear in great bunches, streaming down the street like a circus parade. Sometimes just out of the corner of your eye, when you’re not thinking about anything much. The women and their wild beasts. Can’t they give it a rest?

The nuns are the worst.


6) The Third Sister I: The barbarians are chewing. Chew chew chew all summer long. Blood pools on their plates, just the way they like it. The mothers wear halter tops; the fathers take off their watches; we run barefoot in the street, a thick seam of tar bubbles in the centre of the road and sticks to our feet. There are no boys on this block, except for spindly Johnny Falconi who hides his shovel teeth behind his mother's orange curtains. Girls run rampant, no boy could survive here. We run low to the ground, knees bent, hands dragging like monkey paws so that they don't see us. They are the barbarians. We see them through their haze of cigarettes and BBQ smoke and choked laughter. We watch our backs.


7) After Almadovar: What grown man can say that he married his own mother, and that although heartbreak was involved, no-one disapproved?


8) St. Elizabeth of the Miracle of the Roses: Anastasia Nagy is on a rampage. The boy, honestly he’s just a boy, they’ve chosen to play Zoltan is horribly unsuitable. It’s like casting Macaulay Culkin to play Heathcliff. She claims she can see the peach fuzz still gleaming on his cheeks. She writes fire and they give her green fruit! She burns up the telephone lines and is truly inconsolable.


9) The BBQ Nun: She came to us from Kansas City with smoke in her habit, shorn hair glinting copper. She came with her guitar and her firm belief in penance and her expertise in all things eschatological, although the latter was more of a private preoccupation than a part of her duties at Sacred Heart. She came with her talk of judgement, but there was always a kind of smile on her face and she even made the idea of Hellfire seem like fun.


10) The Third Sister II: The third sister with her bare skull like a crystal ball, but milky blue. When Betty and Lydia want to touch it she makes them pay. Sometime in pennies, sometimes in blood.


11) Lawn Boy: They say that if a house is on fire and a woman has to choose between her child and another – her husband, her lover – she will choose the child.

What if I told you I would choose differently?

What do you think of me now?



For Adoption Papers Write to (and please specify which opening/s):

Zsuzsi Gartner

c/o 1424 Commercial Dr.



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36. Transitioning from Short Stories to the Novel Form

Today I wanted to talk about a question that people have been asking me ever since they learned that my novel, In Between Days, would be coming out this fall. Invariably, after learning of the novel's existence, someone will ask, "Was it difficult?" "Was what difficult?" I'll say. "Writing a novel," they'll say. "You know, [...]

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37. "How to Play with Dolls"

This little story was originally published in Weird Tales 352, Nov/Dec. 2008, edited by Ann VanderMeer.

How to Play with Dolls
by Matthew Cheney

Jenny's father spent a year making a dollhouse for her, a three-storey mansion with four gables and six chimneys and secret passageways and a dumbwaiter and a tiny television that, thanks to a microchip, actually worked.  He gave it to her on her seventh birthday.  Jenny thanked him and kissed him and told him she had always wanted an asylum for her dolls.

Though he wanted her to make the house into a pleasant place for tea parties and soirees, Jenny's father stayed silent as he watched his daughter restrain her dolls with straightjackets fashioned from toilet paper.  He kept his silence as she built prison bars with toothpicks and secured every door with duck tape.  But as she placed the dolls into their cells and set a group of them to stare at the television, he could not observe quietly any longer, and so he went to his workshop and reorganized his impressive collection of antique awls, adzes, augers, and axes.

Jenny continued in his absence.  She created schedules for the patients, times when they could wander through the halls or make origami birds or rant and rave without reproach, or sleep in the cots she had built out of matchboxes stolen from her late mother's private stash.  She had considered appointing some of the dolls to be doctors, but she did not trust them, and so retained all supervisory duties for herself.  She did not sleep, for fear that were she not to keep a vigilant watch, the dolls would revolt or, worse, harm themselves.  She despaired, though, because none of the patients seemed to be making any progress.  Instead, they were all becoming recalcitrant, and they did not want to wander or create anything, they stopped ranting, they let the television slip to a channel of grey static, they slept and slept and slept.  Jenny tried extreme measures: water dunking, severe lighting, simulated earthquakes, and even, with a contraption made from spoons and Christmas tree lights, electrocution.  Nothing got better, and the dolls might as well have been dead.

After a month, Jenny's father returned from his workshop with delicately-detailed miniature hot air balloons, and as Jenny sat beside her asylum and wept over the helpless despair of the dolls, her father orchestrated clever escapes for the patients, who proved to be masterful balloonists, each and every one.  They flew to the paradise of Jenny's bed, where they waited until she returned one night, the asylum having been abandoned, and they embraced her in their tiny arms and sang ancient songs in lost languages while she slept, her face wet with tears from her dreams.

Creative Commons License
"How to Play with Dolls" by Matthew Cheney is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

1 Comments on "How to Play with Dolls", last added: 9/8/2012
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38. The Stories of Ray Bradbury

The Stories of Ray Bradbury. Ray Bradbury. 1980/2010. Everyman's Library. 1063 pages.

It would be difficult to try to review a collection of one-hundred short stories by Ray Bradbury. My thoughts on these stories are scattered over two years. (To visit the other posts in the series: first twelve, next twenty-six, next three, next ten, next twelve, next-to-last twenty-two, final fifteen.) The collection is very diverse: science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, and realistic fiction. There are stories celebrating friendship, love, marriage, and family. And stories depicting the break down of human relationships. Some of the stories are extremely dark and disturbing, others very light and humorous.

Here are my thoughts on the MOST memorable:

The Coffin

There was any amount of banging and hammering for a number of days; deliveries of metal parts and oddments which Mr. Charles Braling took into his little workshop with a feverish anxiety.
"The Coffin" is just creepy. Readers meet two brothers--Charles and Richard. One brother dies soon after completing his "custom" coffin. He boasts to his brother about how revolutionary this coffin is--how it is a complete all-in-one funeral experience. "Simply place body in coffin--and music will start." His brother is curious. Perhaps a little too curious?!

There Was an Old Woman

"No, there's no lief arguin'. I got my mind fixed. Run along with your silly wicker basket. Land, where you ever get notions like that? You just skit out of here; don't bother me, I got my tattin' and knittin' to do, and no never minds about tall, dark gentlemen with fangled ideas."
"There Was An Old Woman" shows just how stubborn one woman is to conquer death. She refuses--I mean REFUSES to believe in death. So what happens when she dies and her body is taken away? You might just be surprised.

The Scythe

Quite suddenly there was no more road.
"The Scythe" is also quite interesting! It is about a desperate man with a family who suddenly finds himself in a new situation. Finds himself in plenty for once. But there is a price to pay for having everything so perfect. Is he willing to pay that price? He may have no choice!

There Will Come Soft Rains

In the living room the voice-clock sang, Tick-tock, seven o'clock, time to get up, time to get up, seven o'clock! as if it were afraid that nobody would. The morning house lay empty.  
 "There Will Come Soft Rains" is a very, very, very lonely story where we get a glimpse--just a small glimpse perhaps--of the desolation and destruction of life as we know it in at least one human city. We see the ending of an era, perhaps. There are no human characters in this one.

The Murderer

Music moved with him in the white halls. He passed an office door: "The Merry Widow Waltz." Another door: Afternoon of a Faun. A third:

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39. What's in my short story tub?

In the comments of yesterday's review of the short story collection, BECAUSE OF SHOE, there was interest in what's in my short story tub. Here's what I've collected over the years. Any other great ones that I'm missing?


Lost and Found: Three by Shaun Tan (Lost and Found Omnibus) by Shaun Tan

Flight Explorer Volume 1 edited by Kazu Kibuishi

Explorer: The Mystery Boxes edited by Kazu Kibuishi

Big Fat Little Lit (Picture Puffin Books) edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly

Goosebumps Graphix, volumes 1-3:  Goosebumps Graphix #1: Creepy Creatures , Terror Trips (Goosebumps Graphix, No. 2) , Scary Summer (Goosebumps Graphix, No. 3)


The Big Book for Peace by Ann Durell and Marilyn Sachs

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40. Short Stories Read in July

I made it a personal goal to try to read ONE HUNDRED short stories in the month of July. I'll italicize my favorites.

From Agatha Christie's Poirot Investigates

  1. The Adventure of the Western Star
  2. The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor
  3. The Adventure of the Cheap Flat
  4. The Mystery of Hunter's Lodge
  5. The Million Dollar Bond Robbery
  6. The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb
  7. The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan
  8. The Kidnapped Prime Minister
  9. The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim
  10. The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman
  11. The Case of the Missing Will
  12. The Veiled Lady
  13. The Lost Mine
  14. The Chocolate Box
 From The Dead Witness
  1. The Secret Cell by William E. Burton
  2. The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe
  3. On Duty With Inspector Field by Charles Dickens
  4. The Diary of Anne Rodway by Wilkie Collins
  5. You Are Not Human, Monsieur d'Artagnan by Alexandre Dumas, pere
  6. Arrested on Suspicion by Andrew Forrester Jr.
  7. The Dead Witness, or, The Bush Waterhole by W.W. (Mary Fortune)
  8. The Mysterious Human Leg by James McGovan (William Crawford Honeyman)
  9. The Little Old Man of Batignolles by Emile Gaboriau
  10. The Science of Deduction by Arthur Conan Doyle
  11. The Whitechapel Mystery by Anonymous
  12. The Assassin's Natal Autograph by Mark Twain
  13. The Murder at Troyte's Hill by C.L. Pirkis
  14. The Haverstock Hill Murder by George R. Sims
  15. The Stolen Cigar-Case by Bret Harte
  16. The Absent-Minded Coterie by Robert Barr
  17. The Hammer of God by G.K. Chesterton
  18. The Angel of the Lord by Melville Davisson Post
  19. The Crime at Big Tree Portage by Ernest Bramah
  20. The Case of Padages Palmer by Harvey O'Higgins
  21. An Intangible Clue by Anna Katherine Greene
From After Dark by Wilkie Collins
  1. The Traveller's Story of a Terribly Strange Bed (1852)
  2. The Lawyer's Story of a Stolen Letter (1854)
  3. The French Governess's Story of Sister Rose (1855)
  4. The Angler's Story of The Lady of Glenwith Grange (new for After Dark)
  5. The Nun's Story of Gabriel's Marriage (1853)
  6. The Professor's Story of the Yellow Mask (1855)
From The End of the World: Stories of the Apocalypse
  1. The Hum by Rick Hautala
  2. We Can Get Them For You Wholesale by Neil Gaiman
  3. The Big Flash by Norman Spinrad
  4. Kindness by Lester Del Rey
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41. Good Dog!

Because of Shoe and Other Dog Stories
edited by Ann M. Martin
Henry Holt, 2012
review copy provided by the publisher

Where should I put this book in my classroom library -- on the shelf with the dog books, or in the tub with the collections of short stories?

Actually, it might be fun to create a display with this book and the books of the nine authors who contributed stories to the book! Wouldn't it be fun to compare Jon Muth's Zen picture books with his story of the sculptor Brancusi and one of his white dogs?

There's a real mix of stories in this collection. One of my favorites is the story (by Pam Muñoz Ryan) that gives the collection its title. Lily is telling this story, and she is a TALKER, which makes her a great story teller. I can imagine studying this story in writing workshop to think about voice in writing. (Also, it begs to be compared to Because of Winn Dixie!!)

If I gathered multiple copies of this book from the library, the whole class could read the book jigsaw style -- one story per group -- and then have cross-group discussions, and finally a whole class discussion. It would be interesting to see how many kids would go back to read stories from other groups, based on the discussions.

As you can see, this is a book with lots of potential!

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42. Free Leiber

The Library of America has just posted a Fritz Leiber story, "Try and Change the Past", online. If you've never read any Leiber, now's as good a time as any to start.

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43. Create Structure in Your Fiction Using Index Cards

I was reading through some of our older science fiction titles, and I came upon Worlds of Wonder by David Gerrold (published in 2001). As I was flipping through the book, I read an opening line that intrigued me:

“All writing is list-making. Nothing more. The trick is knowing what to put next on the list.”

This seemed a puzzlingly simple notion–that developing the plot of your story was in some way akin to the act of jotting down your grocery list. And yet, as I started to read further, what the author was saying made a lot of sense:

The thing about Lego bricks is that you can build just about anything you can imagine–if you’re patient enough. People have built whole cities out of Lego bricks. The problem is that you have to figure out yourself how to put the things together. While there might be instructions on how to build a specific kind of Lego castle, there are no instructions on how you can build the castle that exists in your own imagination.

Planning your story is the same experience. You have a sense of what you want it to be, how you want the pieces to fit together, but actually getting this brick to fit next to that one…. Pretty soon, you start to wonder how the hell Arthur C. Clarke and Larry Niven and Frederik Pohl and Richard Matheson and Jack Finney and Anne McCaffrey and C.J. Cherryh and Connie Willis can make it look so easy.

David goes on to suggest this exercise, which I share with you below. (A sidenote: What’s particularly amusing about it is that he is the writer of the episode “The Trouble with Tribbles” from Star Trek: The Original Series, which is, in my opinion, one of the best Star Trek episodes ever.)

Get yourself a stack of index cards. Write a one-line synopsis of each specific scene that you think should be in your story, one scene per card. Don’t worry about writing them down in any specific order. Just write them down as fast as you think of them:

  • Lt. Uhura brings a tribble aboard the Enterprise.
  • Lt. Uhura first gets the tribble from a local merchant.
  • Uhura’s tribble has a litter of little tribbles.
  • Scotty discovers tribbles in the air vents.
  • Kirk finds a tribble on his captain’s chair.
  • Kirk and Spock beam over to the space station. Kirk opens up the storage compartments and lots of tribbles fall down on his head.

But this isn’t enough for a complete story. You need a second plot line too, something to complicate the first one: 

  • The Klingons want shore leave, but what they really want is … to disrupt the plan for Sherman’s Planet.
  • The Klingons are on the speace station. A barroom brawl breaks out.
  • Kirk investigates the fight. He bawls out Scotty and restricts him to quarters. Scotty is glad for the chance to read his technical manuals.
  • The plan for Sherman’s Planet is that Earth will plant a new grain. If nothing earthlike will grow, the Klingons get the planet.
  • The Klingons are here to poison the grain.
  • The tribbles eat the poisoned grain, reproduce like crazy and fall on Kirk’s head, but McCoy discovers that they’re dying.

Now, take all these separate cards and shuffle them together and start laying them out on the kitchen table in the order you think they should go. First organize each plot line in its own thread. Then you can go back and forth between separate threads, picking up the next appropriate scene from each.

When you have all the cards laid out in order, go through them as if you’re reading a comic book or a storyboard and see if they re

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44. Catching Up with the Caine Prize

This is my fourth post for the great 2012 Caine Prize blogathon. (See my first post for some details.)

With 2 stories remaining for our Caine Prize Blogathon of Wonder, I fell behind.

Thus, this post will be about the last two stories, "La Salle de Départ" by Melissa Tandiwe Myambo and "Hunter Emmanuel" by Constance Myburgh.

Both are solid stories with their own virtues and are, much to the jurors' credit, utterly different from each other.

"La Salle de Départ" tells the tale of a sister who has remained at home while her brother was sent to school in America; he returns home for a visit having become relatively successful in the States, engaged to an Egyptian woman who is a liberal Muslim and a scholar, and unable to relate to his own family anymore. It's true, in this story, that you can't go home again. The cultural and economic divides are nicely delineated, and this is a generally well-written story, carefully structured and balanced, a story with clear themes and unresolved tensions and psychological probing and sociological gesturing, a story that, of course, has an unresolved, dying-fall sort of ending. It's what I think of as a safe workshop story — a story that demonstrates plenty of talent and sensitivity and gives everybody around the table something to comment on and admire. It's also the sort of story that flatters its readers: we can feel good about our own sensitivities after reading it, because we have sided with the good character, we have identified the tensions, we have appreciated the dilemmas, we have nodded our head at the seriousness of it all, and we have felt the proper emotions.

And as you can probably tell from my tone, it's not a type of story I have much interest in. It's worth reading, it's even perhaps worth nominating for an award, but I just struggle to muster a lot of enthusiasm for a story that is so determined to be good for me.

"Hunter Emmanuel", on the other hand, is not a story that wants to be good for anybody. It is a deliberately pulpy tale, originally published in Jungle Jim, "a bimonthly, African pulp fiction magazine" or "genre-based writing from all over Africa." The story is certainly pulpy and hardboiled, but not in a nostalgic or posturing way. The genre feels utterly appropriate for the setting and events. Rewriting the story in a different idiom would rob it of all its meaning.

It's a story that begins with a severed leg in a tree. Hunter Emmanuel is not a fairy tale character (which I assumed when I first saw the title), but an out-of-luck former police officer who has become a lumberjack. He finds the leg, and can't help but start an investigation on his own. What he finds surprises him. He's fine at getting to what happened, but he's not very good at understanding other people's motivations and desires.

The world of the story is dark and grimy, but there's a dream-world underneath it all, or at least underneath Hunter Emmanuel's perception of it all. A wonderful lyric passage in the middle of the story begins:
That night Hunter Emmanuel dreamt of corridors and mermaids, of seal women. Trees that stretched on and on, up and up, trunks wider than ten men's arms could reach around. Solid pine. It was no good. He'd spent enough nights similarly to know he couldn't sleep like this.
Unable to sleep, he goes out into the world, dragging h

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45. Sudden Flash Youth

Editors: Christine Perkins, Tom Hazuka, Mark Budman
Publisher: Persea Books
Genre: Short stories
ISBN: 978-0-89255-371-6
Pages: 224
Price: $12.95

Buy it at Amazon

Remembering the days of our youth can bring us joy or tears. Sudden Flash Youth is a compilation of some of the best flash fiction focused exclusively on childhood.

This book features classic gems like The Flowers and What Happened During the Ice Storm, and newer ones like Between Practice and Perfection and The Quinceañera Text. And there are a few edgier pieces focused on teen pregnancy, bullying and violence, that may have been a part of our past we’d prefer to forget.

Bold, brief stories capture the innocence of our childhood, as well as the darker sides of teen behavior. Most readers will relate to at least a few of these well-crafted tales. An enjoyable and thought-provoking read.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

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46. Lin McLean

Lin McLean. Owen Wister. 1898/1998. Forge. 230 pages.

In the old days, the happy days, when Wyoming was a Territory with a future instead of a State with a past, and the unfenced cattle grazed upon her ranges by prosperous thousands, young Lin McLean awaked early one morning in cow camp, and lay staring out of his blankets upon the world. 

It helped me tremendously to know that this was Owen Wister's first novel. (I am even tempted to say "novel" just because this book feels more like a short story collection than a cohesive novel.) Unfortunately, I didn't learn that this was his first novel until after I read it and had been disappointed. Last year, I read and LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Owen Wister's novel The Virginian. It was a complete surprise to me because I am allergic to westerns. I wanted to find another Wister novel that compared to The Virginian, and I didn't find it in Lin McLean. (Though the Virginian makes a couple of appearances in the stories within Lin McLean.) But is that fair to expect Lin McLean to be as good, as great as The Virginian? Probably not.

The stories found in Lin McLean are
  • How Lin McLean Went East
  • The Winning of the Biscuit-Shooter
  • Lin McLean's Honey-Moon
  • A Journey In Search of Christmas
  • Separ's Vigilante
  • Destiny at Drybone
  • In the After-Days (a poem, not a story)
If I had to sum up the book, sum up the stories, I would say Lin McLean was about a cowboy who was good at losing his money gambling, a man easily distracted by women and cards and booze, a man who despite his shortcomings found the love of a young boy and a good woman.

My favorite stories were, without a doubt, "Lin McLean's Honey-Moon," "Separ's Vigilante," and "Destiny at Drybone."

Read Lin McLean
  • If you like westerns
  • If you're looking to catch early glimpses of the man who would become THE VIRGINIAN
  • If you like western short stories
© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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47. Ten Stories by Ray Bradbury

A few years ago I made a good attempt to read The Stories of Ray Bradbury. This collection of short stories is over 1,100 pages!!! I did manage to read just over 400 pages. But. It wasn't until his death that I decided I really needed to make a second attempt. Here are the three posts that cover the first attempt: first twelve, next twenty-six, next three

"The Man Upstairs"
He remembered how carefully and expertly Grandmother would fondle the cold cut guts of the chicken and withdraw the marvels therein; the wet shining loops of meat-smelling intestine, the muscled lump of heart, the gizzard with the collection of seeds in it. 
My thoughts: While this one wouldn't normally ever be listed among my favorites, viewed solely in terms of the ten stories I'm sharing today, it would probably be among the best. It is creepy, odd, and the details are, well, disgusting. But it actually made sense, a twilight zone kind of sense, but sense. You knew what the beginning, middle, and end all meant. As for what it is about, well, let's just say something not quite human moves into Grandma's boarding house, and, Douglas, the young hero of the story, sees it for what it is.

"Touched With Fire"
They stood in the blazing sunlight for a long while, looking at the bright faces of their old-fashioned railroad watches, while the shadows tilted beneath them, swaying, and the perspiration ran out under their porous summer hats.
My thoughts: This one would be among my favorites--viewed solely in terms of this ten. This story is about two men who try their very best to warn a cranky old woman to watch her attitude. Why? Well, they know HOW VERY HOT it is, and how the heat is getting to everyone, and they have a theory that 92 degrees is the perfect degree for murder.
More murders are committed at ninety-two degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature. Over one hundred, it's too hot to move. Under ninety, cool enough to survive. But right at ninety-two degrees lies the apex of irritability, everything is itches and hair and sweat and cooked pork. The brain becomes a rat rushing around a red-hot maze. The least thing, a word, a look, a sound, the drop of a hair--and irritable murder. Irritable murder, there's a pretty and terrifying phrase for you. (422)
Will she listen? Will the thermometer make it that fatal degree?

"The Emissary"
Martin knew it was autumn again, for Dog ran into the house bringing wind and frost and a smell of apples turned to cider under trees.
My thoughts: Not a favorite, but it gets worse. Martin LOVES his Dog because Dog always brings back visitors to visit Martin. He does have a favorite visitor, Miss Haight. When Miss Haight dies, Martin gets lonely, then, Dog disappears too...will he ever get visitors again... This one is creepy, and would be perfect for the R.I.P challenge, and it does still make sense. It's a creepy story that won't necessarily be for everyone. But I still knew what happened in it.

"The Jar"
It was one of those things they keep in a jar in the tent of a sideshow on the outskirts of a little, drowsy town. 
My thoughts: Didn't like this one. I'm not sure I hated it, but I didn't care for it. Every one sees something different in this ja

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48. Poirot Investigates

Poirot Investigates. Agatha Christie. 1924/2011. HarperCollins. 256 pages.

I loved Poirot Investigates. Perhaps because I had low expectations? This was my first experience reading Christie's short stories. And since I'm not generally a fan of short stories, I didn't have great expectations for enjoying these fourteen stories. Each story is narrated by Captain Hastings. And he is a character that I tend to love and adore. I've found that Hercule Poirot needs a little help either from Hastings or Ariadne Oliver to help tame his arrogance. I have definitely come to love Hercule Poirot through the mysteries I've read, but, it was a long road for me. It wasn't instantaneous like it was with Miss Marple.

This collection of short stories was originally published in 1925. So it is "early" Poirot. The short stories in this collection are:

The Adventure of the Western Star
The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor
The Adventure of the Cheap Flat
The Mystery of Hunter's Lodge
The Million Dollar Bond Robbery
The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb
The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan
The Kidnapped Prime Minister
The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim
The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman
The Case of the Missing Will
The Veiled Lady
The Lost Mine
The Chocolate Box

It's not that any one story is amazing or incredible. That's not why I loved this collection. For me it is all about the relationship between Poirot and Hastings. Their conversations. Their friendship. Seeing these two together. There is just something DELIGHTFUL about spending time in their company. 

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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49. The Dead Witness

The Dead Witness: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Detective Stories. Edited by Michael Sims. 2011. Walker & Company. (Late December 2011). 608 pages.

The Dead Witness is a short story collection that I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Now I am not usually a short story person, I feel it's important for everyone to know that. There are a couple of authors whose short fiction I enjoy, but, for the most part I like my novels.  But. I just LOVED this collection. I think it is a real MUST-READ.

Readers are introduced to twenty-two authors and twenty-two short stories. Each introduction was written by Michael Sims who did a fabulous job. There's just enough in each introduction to make you curious and eager to read their work, some of the introductions tease more than others. For example, they mention other stories, other novels, etc. The introductions are anything but boring! The authors presented are English, American, Canadian, Australian, and French. The collection includes men and women authors and men and women detectives! Some were narrated by a man or woman who just 'accidentally' got involved in the case, who just happened to put the clues together to solve the mystery. Others were narrated by amateur and professional detectives. (For example, The Diary of Anne Rodway is narrated by someone who just happens to become involved in this mystery. Her good friend, her roommate, is killed. She feels it was murder and has a clue or two to go by.)
  • The Secret Cell by William E. Burton
  • The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe
  • On Duty With Inspector Field by Charles Dickens
  • The Diary of Anne Rodway by Wilkie Collins
  • You Are Not Human, Monsieur d'Artagnan by Alexandre Dumas, pere
  • Arrested on Suspicion by Andrew Forrester Jr.
  • The Dead Witness, or, The Bush Waterhole by W.W. (Mary Fortune)
  • The Mysterious Human Leg by James McGovan (William Crawford Honeyman)
  • The Little Old Man of Batignolles by Emile Gaboriau
  • The Science of Deduction by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Whitechapel Mystery by Anonymous
  • The Assassin's Natal Autograph by Mark Twain
  • The Murder at Troyte's Hill by C.L. Pirkis
  • The Haverstock Hill Murder by George R. Sims
  • The Stolen Cigar-Case by Bret Harte
  • The Absent-Minded Coterie by Robert Barr
  • The Hammer of God by G.K. Chesterton
  • The Angel of the Lord by Melville Davisson Post
  • The Crime at Big Tree Portage by Ernest Bramah
  • The Case of Padages Palmer by Harvey O'Higgins
  • An Intangible Clue by Anna Katherine Greene
 Chances are you're familiar with some of these authors. But some of these will probably be as new to you as they were to me.

My favorite favorite story was "The Diary of Anne Rodway," which I just LOVED and ADORED. True, I was already familiar with his work, but, even if I hadn't been, I think I would have loved this piece. The short story is a series of diary entries by a young woman, a poor woman. She's good friends with another young woman, Mary Mallinson. The two are in similar situations--in a way--both poor, both working hard to survive, both in love but facing obstacles to their happiness. But when Mary is murdered, Anne Rodway takes it upon herself to try to solve the mystery and discover the identity of the man who killed her friend.

I also enjoyed "The Secret Cell" by William E. Burton first published in 1837--several years before Edgar Allen Poe's oh-so-famous detective story, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." I personally preferred The S

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50. After Dark

After Dark. Wilkie Collins. 1856. 404 pages.

From "Leaves From Leah's Diary"
26th February, 1827.—The doctor has just called for the third time to examine my husband's eyes. Thank God, there is no fear at present of my poor William losing his sight, provided he can be prevailed on to attend rigidly to the medical instructions for preserving it. These instructions, which forbid him to exercise his profession for the next six months at least, are, in our case, very hard to follow. They will but too probably sentence us to poverty, perhaps to actual want; but they must be borne resignedly, and even thankfully, seeing that my husband's forced cessation from work will save him from the dreadful affliction of loss of sight. I think I can answer for my own cheerfulness and endurance, now that we know the worst. Can I answer for our children also? Surely I can, when there are only two of them. It is a sad confession to make, but now, for the first time since my marriage, I feel thankful that we have no more.
I tend to love Wilkie Collins. And I did enjoy his short story collection, After Dark. But I didn't find all six of the short stories equally compelling. And while I *loved* some of the stories in this book, I didn't love them all. I found them all worthwhile, all entertaining.

There's a framework to After Dark. A portrait-painter, William, suffers damage to his eyesight, the doctor tells him he needs LOTS of time to recuperate if he hopes to be able to see again. He can no longer count on his painting to bring in the income and take care of his family, so, the family is forced to come up with plan B. Plan B just happens to be writing and publishing a book of stories. These are stories that have been told to the painter--usually while his subject is being painted--through the years. He will now recollect the best stories he's ever heard and relate them to his wife, Leah, who will write them down each night...after dark. (That is after her long day's work is through.)

The six stories are:

  • The Traveller's Story of a Terribly Strange Bed (1852)
  • The Lawyer's Story of a Stolen Letter (1854)
  • The French Governess's Story of Sister Rose (1855)
  • The Angler's Story of The Lady of Glenwith Grange (new for After Dark)
  • The Nun's Story of Gabriel's Marriage (1853)
  • The Professor's Story of the Yellow Mask (1855)
Five of the six short stories were reprints, only one story was brand new and written especially for this book.

In my opinion, the best, best, best short story in this collection is The French Governess's Story of Sister Rose. This story has DRAMA and action. It is set during the French Revolution. And in my opinion, this story is a MUST read. Not only if you're a fan of Victorian literature OR a fan of Wilkie Collins, but if you're a fan of historical fiction set during the French Revolution, you should really consider reading this novella.

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