November 2014 favorites


November 2014

The November stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Chickamauga’ by Ambrose Bierce
  2. ‘Paul’s Case’ by Willa Cather
  3. ‘The Veldt’ by Ray Bradbury
  4. ‘The Story Of An Hour’ by Kate Chopin
  5. ‘Of This Time, Of That Place’ by Lionel Trilling
  6. ‘The Nose’ by Nikolai Gogol
  7. ‘A White Heron’ by Sarah Orne Jewett
  8. ‘A Circle In The Fire’ by Flannery O’Connor
  9. ‘Going For A Beer’ by Robert Coover
  10. ‘Two Thanksgiving Gentlemen’ by O. Henry
  11. ‘Dawn Of Remembered Spring’ by Jesse Stuart
  12. ‘The Middle Years’ by Henry James
  13. ‘The Catbird Seat’ by James Thurber
  14. ‘The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story’ by Joel Chandler Harris
  15. ‘The Peach Stone’ by Paul Horgan
  16. ‘Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’ by Jorge Luis Borges
  17. ‘An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving’ by Louisa May Alcott
  18. ‘Who Lived And Died Believing’ by Nancy Hale
  19. ‘The Devil And Tom Walker’ by Washington Irving
  20. ‘The Facts Concerning The Recent Carnival Of Crime In Connecticut’ by Mark Twain

‘The Peach Stone’ by Paul Horgan

Horgan, Paul 1942

The Peach Stone by Paul Horgan, 1942

The magic trick:

Highlighting the jealousy felt by the teacher

Horgan does a nice job of showing each point of view of the four characters in the car. My favorite detail among them is the jealousy felt by the teacher, Miss Latcher. It’s a remarkable thing that during a tragedy as bleak as the accidental death of a 2-year-old a woman could be envious of the loss. But Horgan makes it believable, thereby shading the tragedy in a whole new light. Miss Latcher’s life is so devoid of love she envies the connection the family feels, even as the connecting bond is grief. I wasn’t as moved as perhaps many readers will be by the mother’s spiritual journey throughout the story, but I very much admire the insight about loss and tragedy Miss Latcher’s reaction highlights. And that’s quite a trick on Horgan’s part.

The selection:

It made her head swim to realize this. But she envied them their entanglement with one another, and the dues they paid each other in the humility of the duty they were performing on this ride, to the family burial ground at Weed. Here she sat riding with them, to come along and be of help to them, and she was no help. She was unable to swallow the lump of desire that rose in her throat, for life’s uses, even such bitter ones as that of the Powers family today. It had been filling her gradually, all the way over on the trip, this feeling of jealousy and degradation.