Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July 29th: Katherine Anne Porter
A Month of Short Stories and Their Authors

now reading grudgingly (long story):  
Good Wives aka Little Women Part Two by Louisa May Alcott

Hey there! It's the first day of my new blog appearance. I had to do it for Blogspot reasons, basically, and it isn't quite what I wanted, so further tweaking must needs occur.

Today's Story: "Theft"
Author: Katherine Anne Porter
My Rating: A

I've read a little Katherine Anne Porter before, and what I mostly remember is being blown away by her writing talent. Intelligence without being pretentious, complexity without being confusing, whimsy without being shallow...she's a fantastic writer, pure and simple. And she surprises you, and writes about interesting things you weren't necessarily expecting.

So in a story like "Theft," though at first you're a little bit caught off guard, the "what's-going-on?" isn't in any way unpleasant nor does it make you want to roll your eyes; it's not unlike the actual drunkenness the main character and her friends are experiencing, I suppose! Reading Katherine Anne Porter is a great way to remind yourself how terrible some other authors really are.

Though light on linear this-then-this-then-this action, there is in fact a linear narrative happening, but the story is perfectly introspective and deep as well. By the end, when an accusation is made, and when it is initially resisted with a bit of righteous indignation, you find yourself just this side of advocating for your main character and wondering if she could have in fact been wrong. This story is a lot like life.

"In this moment she felt that she had been robbed of an enormous number of valuable things, whether material or intangible: things lost or broken by her own fault, things she had forgotten and left in houses when she moved: books borrowed and not returned, journeys she had planned and had not made, words she had waited to hear spoken to her and had not heard, and the words she had meant to answer with bitter alternatives and intolerable substitutes worse than nothing..."
--quoted from "Theft" on page 109 of The Best American Short stories of the Century

The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter  won the Pulitzer in 1966, you know. You could do worse than to get a little Katherine Anne Porter in your life. Or a lot of her.

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