Saturday, May 22, 2010

Breaking Down the Stories

I'm going to try a new tactic for this collection of short stories (Break It Down by Lydia Davis)...a running break-down of the stories as I read them.

"Story": gives an intimate account of the insecurities that can haunt you in a relationship

"The Fears of Mrs. Orlando": poor Mrs. Orlando. What it must be like to live with such fears...almost persecution mania. Somebody, somewhere is out to get her, steal her stuff, do her harm.

"Liminal: The Little Man": Just a snippet: "She was thinking how it was the unfinished business. This was why she could not sleep. She could not say the day was over. She had no sense any day was ever over. Everything was still going on. The business was no only not finished but maybe not done well enough."

"Break It Down": just how much does a relationship cost, anyway?

"Mr. Burdoff's Visit to Germany": a short story that is literally broken down...into its various, specific parts.

"What She Knew"; "The Fish"; & "Mildred & the Oboe": Okay, I know I promised that I was breaking these down story by story. But, seriously?? Short stories that are one paragraph long and one page at the most--that's it? If I wanted something that short and sweet, I'd be reading poetry (which I do like, by the way). But I'm not. I want a story. Not just a peeping tom look into someone's life. Which is kinda how I feel about these three--very voyeuristic. Especially with Mildred. And these extremely short "stories" make me think about my 4th grade writing efforts. When I thought my "Crime Club" series was gonna be the next best thing to Trixie Belden. And I wrote a whole story (as in equal to one of Trixie's stories--oh, say, 150ish pages) in one of those little top-spiral, 80 page (2 in x 3 in paper) and didn't even use half the pages. I just know the "Mystery of the Diamond Bracelet" was a story to make Katherine Kenney worried about Trixie's competition. I'm not claiming that my 4th grade efforts have near the style and polish of Lydia Davis' paragraphs. But I am saying it's awfully hard to care about her characters in these three stories--do I really care about the woman in "What She Knew" and what she knows? Nope. Not a bit. Don't know enough about her. things went totally downhill from there. I'm not enjoying these stories at all and I'm giving up. I did figure out what it was that made me want to get this book. It was a "short story" (yes, one of those paragraph things) called "Safe Love"--only when it was mentioned on the site I found it on, it didn't say that the paragraph quoted was the entire story.

So--going with my new philosophy that I don't have time to waste on books I'm not enjoying....out with the '"old" and in with the "new." Will be starting Deborah Crombie's Kissed a Sad Goodbye (the follow-up to Dreaming of the Bones) tonight.

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