Friday, July 18, 2014

July 18th: Susan Glaspell
A Month of Short Stories and Their Authors

now reading: Plum Island by Nelson DeMille

Step right up, folks! This here selection is what we call a magnificent short story. Come one, come all, and experience something marvelous. 

Today's Story: "A Jury of Her Peers"
Author: Susan Glaspell
My Rating:  A+

That's right! I said plus. The first one handed out during this, my month of short stories. This is top notch stuff. The scene is so vivid; the characters come alive; the threat is looming; the pieces fall into place (are they quilted or knotted, those pieces?!); the theme is developed; the point is made. And it's all so gripping! And so simple. And yet so not, right? 

I hesitate to give spoilers, to the point that I don't want to describe anything about the plot, but I will say this: these people are out in the boondocks, there has been an incident for which the sheriff and other officials must be called in, and there is a woman who hangs out with the sheriff's wife discovering some pretty important things, and I'll tell you what: the dialogue in this story and the dialogue/action mix are pitch perfect. Do yourself a favor, if you ever want to read a short story a day for the month of July as I am doing, and include this one! 

What about the author, Susan Glaspell? Are we not familiar? (We are not. That's OK.) Well, this story, "A Jury of Her Peers," was published in 1917, but apparently she adapted it from a play she had written a couple of years earlier, called Trifles. And apparently this play is very famous. Well-known enough to be written about and included in anthologies and... why? Why don't I know her as I clearly should?  Today I officially feel so dumb. I do love that she worked it so well as a short story, too. And I totally want to produce and direct the play, like, right now. Furthermore, Susan Glaspell hung out in Provincetown, although she was originally from Iowa, and she won the Pulitzer (!) for Drama in 1931, for the play Alison's House. The Pulitzer, as you may know, is my favorite, so right on, Susan Glaspell!  (Also, Provincetown is awesome, too.) 

In short: more Susan Glaspell, please!

No comments: