Wednesday 14 December 2011

Short Stories on Wednesdays – #3

Short Stories on Wednesdays is a weekly event hosted by Risa over at Breadcrumb Reads, where the aim is to read at least one short story a week.

I've read a few short stories this week, a couple of them being from PG Wodehouse's Carry On Jeeves, one by Ernest Hemingway which is so short it's perplexing, and one by Romesh Gunesekera. I'll take a raincheck on discussing the stories I've read by PG Wodehouse as they're part of a collection that I'm reviewing as a whole this week, so I will focus on enlightening you about the others.

In my first SSOW post, I told you about a couple of short stories by Thomas Bernard which are both just a paragraph in length. Well, would you believe that I've found something even shorter? Here it is:

Baby shoes by Ernest Hemingway
For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn.

And oh yes, it is indeed considered a short story according to my university course! Crazy, huh? I think that might possibly win the award for the shortest ever! To me, it seems more like a poem or just some kind of tiny part of a larger novel, instead of a story that stands all on its own. But it certainly is intriguing – there are so many possibilities within those six words if you think about it. For instance, whose baby shoes were they? Why were they never worn? Did something happen to the baby? Our imaginations can tell us that.

The other short story I read is more regular, and is called Storm Petrel by Romesh Gunesekera. It's about two friends from Sri Lanka who are both living in London. In May 1983 they bump into each other on the street and engage in a conversation about their homeland, with one of the men revealing that he's just returned from a visit and noticed many 'positive' changes to their country. It's a pretty thought-provoking piece which notes the development of things such as tourism, economy and quality of life. The real punch comes at the end, however, when the narrator reveals that all this promise washed away a few months after this conversation with the start of a civil war.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find the full version of the story anywhere online for you guys to read; only a preview of it on Google Books (scroll down a few pages to find it – it's part of a collection of several other short stories by Romesh Gunesekera called Monkfish Moon).

So some interesting pieces this week. Hopefully I'll be back next Wednesday with more short stories! :-)