June 2017 favorites

June 2017

The June stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘My Purple Scented Novel’ by Ian McEwan
  2. ‘Roman Fever’ by Edith Wharton
  3. ‘The Lotus’ by Jean Rhys
  4. ‘Playing With Dynamite’ by John Updike
  5. ‘A Family Man’ by V.S. Pritchett
  6. ‘The Brown Chest’ by John Updike
  7. ‘A Piece Of String’ by Guy de Maupassant
  8. ‘The Lovely Troubled Daughters Of Our Old Crowd’ by John Updike
  9. ‘Some Terpsichore’ by Elizabeth McCracken
  10. ‘Gesturing’ by John Updike
  11. ‘Manikin’ by Leonard Michaels
  12. ‘The Man Who Loved Extinct Mammals’ by John Updike
  13. ‘The Duchess And The Jeweller’ by Virginia Woolf
  14. ‘Change Of Treatment’ by W.W. Jacobs
  15. ‘Good Intentions’ by Etgar Keret
  16. ‘Graven Image’ by John O’Hara
  17. ‘To Those Of You Who Missed Your Connecting Flights Out Of O’Hare’ by Amy Hempel

As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.

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September 2015 favorites

september2015

September 2015

The September stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘The Doll’s House’ by Katherine Mansfield
  2. ‘Walk In The Moon Shadows’ by Jesse Stuart
  3. ‘The Baby In The Icebox’ by James M. Cain
  4. ‘The Horse Dealer’s Daughter’ by D.H. Lawrence
  5. ‘The Rescue’ by V.S. Pritchett
  6. ‘A Complicated Nature’ by William Trevor
  7. ‘The Standard Of Living’ by Dorothy Parker
  8. ‘Children Of The Sea’ by Edwidge Danticat
  9. ‘The Provincials’ by Daniel Alarcon
  10. ‘Eatonville Anthology’ by Zora Neale Hurston
  11. ‘Birdsong’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  12. ‘The Letter Writers’ by Elizabeth Taylor
  13. ‘The There There’ by Antonya Nelson
  14. ‘Winter In Yalta’ by Antonya Nelson
  15. ‘The Bowl’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  16. ‘Funny Once’ by Antonya Nelson
  17. ‘Literally’ by Antonya Nelson
  18. ‘Death Constant Beyond Love’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  19. ‘A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud’ by Carson McCullers
  20. ‘The Jungle’ by Elizabeth Bowen
  21. ‘Quality Time’ by Richard Ford
  22. ‘The Gully’ by Russell Banks
  23. ‘Inventing Wampanoag, 1672’ by Ben Shattuck

 

August 2014 favorites

august2014

August 2014

The August stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Bright And Morning Star’ by Richard Wright
  2. ‘Symbols And Signs’ by Vladimir Nabokov
  3. ‘The Chrysanthemums’ by John Steinbeck
  4. ‘Free Fruit For Young Widows’ by Nathan Englander
  5. ‘The School’ by Donald Barthelme
  6. ‘The Night The Bed Fell’ by James Thurber
  7. ‘My First Goose’ by Isaac Babel
  8. ‘The Wood Duck’ by James Thurber
  9. ‘The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty’ by James Thurber
  10. ‘The Fireman’s Wife’ by Richard Bausch
  11. ‘The Killers’ by Ernest Hemingway
  12. ‘In The Penal Colony’ by Franz Kafka
  13. ‘He’ by Katherine Anne Porter
  14. ‘The Rich Brother’ by Tobias Wolff
  15. ‘Lovers Of The Lake’ by Sean O’Faolain
  16. ‘First Love’ by Vladimir Nabokov
  17. ‘The Mysterious Kor’ by Elizabeth Bowen
  18. ‘Thirst’ by Ivo Andric
  19. ‘In Another Country’ by Ernest Hemingway
  20. ‘The Iron City’ by Lovell Thompson
  21. ‘Dusky Ruth’ by A.E. Coppard
  22. ‘The Odour Of Chrysanthemums’ by D.H. Lawrence
  23. ‘The Door’ by E.B. White
  24. ‘The Camberwell Beauty’ by V.S. Pritchett
  25. ‘The Fly’ by Katherine Mansfield
  26. ‘Christ In Concrete’ by Pietro di Donato
  27. ‘American Express’ by James Salter
  28. ‘The Piano’ by Anibal Monteiro Machado
  29. ‘The Greatest Man In The World’ by James Thurber
  30. ‘Men’ by Kay Boyle
  31. ‘A Couple Of Hamburgers’ by James Thurber

‘The Camberwell Beauty’ by V.S. Pritchett

Pritchett, V.S. 1974

The Camberwell Beauty by V.S. Pritchett, 1974

The magic trick:

Combining setting with concept and metaphor

“The Camberwell Beauty” takes the reader into England’s high-end antique trade, but it soon becomes clear Pritchett did not pick this setting and scene simply because he likes antiques. The whole story begins to work as a metaphor as the narrator falls in love with Isabel. His desire to find and possess her is exactly the same as the desire felt by antique dealers for certain objects and collections. She exists as a quest, a prized accomplishment, more than she does as an actual human being. As a result, the story, previously a fairly drab character study amidst the unscrupulous antiquing industry, becomes an interesting consideration on possessive love. And that’s quite a trick on Pritchett’s part.

The selection:

The moral is this: if “The Burning of Cranmer” was August’s treasure, it was hopeless to try and get it before he had time to guess what mine was. It was clear to him that I was too new to the trade to have one.