May 2015 favorites

May2015

May 2015

The May stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Medal From Jerusalem’ by Irwin Shaw
  2. ‘A Silver Dish’ by Saul Bellow
  3. ‘Hills Like White Elephants’ by Ernest Hemingway
  4. ‘One Off The Short List’ by Doris Lessing
  5. ‘Neighbors’ by Diane Oliver
  6. ‘Drenched In Light’ by Zora Neale Hurston
  7. ‘The Snows Of Kilimanjaro’ by Ernest Hemingway
  8. ‘Eli, The Fanatic’ by Philip Roth
  9. ‘The Gift Of The Prodigal’ by Peter Taylor
  10. ‘Che Ti Dice La Patria?’ by Ernest Hemingway
  11. ‘A Clean, Well-Lighted Place’ by Ernest Hemingway
  12. ‘The New Order’ by Nancy Hale
  13. ‘Three Million Yen’ by Yukio Mishima
  14. ‘The Supper’ by Tadeusz Borowski
  15. ‘The Interior Castle’ by Jean Stafford
  16. ‘How I Contemplated The World From The Detroit House Of Correction And Began My Life Over Again’ by Joyce Carol Oates
  17. ‘A Simple Enquiry’ by Ernest Hemingway
  18. ‘Janus’ by Ann Beattie
  19. ‘Family Portrait’ by Sherman Alexie
  20. ‘Champion’ by Ring Lardner
  21. ‘The End Of The World’ by Dino Buzzati

April 2015 favorites

April2015

April 2015

The April stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Bullet In The Brain’ by Tobias Wolff
  2. ‘The Shawl’ by Cynthia Ozick
  3. ‘The Bath’ by Raymond Carver
  4. ‘The Five-Forty-Eight’ by John Cheever
  5. ‘The Living’ by Mary Lavin
  6. ‘Why Don’t You Dance?’ by Raymond Carver
  7. ‘Feathers’ by Raymond Carver
  8. ‘Death Of A Right Fielder’ by Stuart Dybek
  9. ‘Death Of A Traveling Salesman’ by Eudora Welty
  10. ‘Everything Stuck To Him’ by Raymond Carver
  11. ‘The Vertical Ladder’ by William Sansom
  12. ‘The Most Dangerous Game’ by Richard Connell
  13. ‘A Small, Good Thing’ by Raymond Carver
  14. ‘The Patented Gate And The Mean Hamburger’ by Robert Penn Warren
  15. ‘One Throw’ by W.C. Heinz
  16. ‘One Gram Short’ by Etgar Keret
  17. ‘Game’ by Donald Barthelme
  18. ‘Alibi Ike’ by Ring Lardner
  19. ‘Smoke’ by Michael Chabon
  20. ‘The Jewbird’ by Bernard Malamud
  21. ‘The Pitcher And The Plutocrat’ by P.G. Wodehouse
  22. ‘The Hitchhiking Game’ by Milan Kundera
  23. ‘Tony’s Wife’ by Alice Dunbar-Nelson
  24. ‘The Man Who Saw Through Heaven’ by Wilbur Daniel Steele

June 2014 favorites

june2014

June 2014

The June stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Venus, Cupid, Folly And Time’ by Peter Taylor
  2. ‘Blackberry Winter’ by Robert Penn Warren
  3. ‘Babylon Revisited’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  4. ‘Upon The Sweeping Flood’ by Joyce Carol Oates
  5. ‘Good Country People’ by Flannery O’Connor
  6. ‘My Old Man’ by Ernest Hemingway
  7. ‘I’m A Fool’ by Sherwood Anderson
  8. ‘Sonny’s Blues’ by James Baldwin
  9. ‘Only The Dead Know Brooklyn’ by Thomas Wolfe
  10. ‘Double Birthday’ by Willa Cather
  11. ‘The View From The Balcony’ by Wallace Stegner
  12. ‘The Magic Barrel’ by Bernard Malamud
  13. ‘No Place For You, My Love’ by Eudora Welty
  14. ‘The Schreuderspitze’ by Mark Helprin
  15. ‘The Hartleys’ by John Cheever
  16. ‘O City Of Broken Dreams’ by John Cheever
  17. ‘A Day In The Open’ by Jane Bowles
  18. ‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson
  19. ‘In The Zoo’ by Jean Stafford
  20. ‘The Lost Phoebe’ by Theodore Dreiser
  21. ‘Welcome To The Monkey House’ by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
  22. ‘How Beautiful With Shoes’ by Wilbur Daniel Steele
  23. ‘The Little Wife’ by William March
  24. ‘A Distant Episode’ by Paul Bowles
  25. ‘The Faithful Wife’ by Morley Callaghan
  26. ‘The Golden Honeymoon’ by Ring Lardner
  27. ‘Resurrection Of A Life’ by William Saroyan
  28. ‘The State Of Grace’ by Harold Brodkey
  29. ‘A Telephone Call’ by Dorothy Parker
  30. ‘The Survivors’ by Elsie Singmaster

‘The Golden Honeymoon’ by Ring Lardner

Lardner, Ring

The Golden Honeymoon by Ring W. Lardner, 1922

The magic trick:

Using the first-person narrator to poke fun at the petty, competitive, and insular communities people create for themselves

The narrator says in the first sentence that he has a reputation for not knowing when to stop talking. Thus, Lardner gives himself license to ramble, which he does for at least 500 words too long for my tastes. But along the way, he gives us some comedy and some social commentary via his first-person narrator, who despite traveling across the country, is most interested in highlighting who belongs to which Rotary Club, which Florida friends are good at playing cards, and which restaurant has the best prices.

Had Lardner used a third-person narrator, the critique would survive in tact but the character’s obliviousness would likely be lost. It’s soft satire – never mean – but it provides a sharp, little snapshot of early 20th-century, middle-class America. And that’s quite a trick on Lardner’s part.

The selection:

Well, I excused myself from the checker game and it was pretty close to noon, so we decided to all have dinner together and they was nothing for it only we must try their cafeteria on Third Avenue. It was a little more expensive than ours and not near as good, I thought. I and Mother had about the same dinner we had been having every day and our bill was $1.10. Frank’s check was $1.20 for he and his wife. The same meal wouldn’t of cost them more than a dollar at our place.