M Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction are some of my Literary Interests

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Three Letters and a Footnote" by Horacio Quiroga

"Three Letters and a Footnote" by Horacio Quiroga (1925, Podcast, 14.5 minutes)

Quiroga and second wife
 Horacio Quiroga (1878 to 1937-Uruguay) is often called the Edgar Allan Poe of the Amazon.   I have previously posted on four of his short stories, each of them very much in the Gothic horror genre.   There is additional background information on Quiroga in my prior posts on him.   I think most who read one of his stories, will want to read more.   My favorite of his stories so far is "The Decapitated Chicken", I almost can guarantee it will "creep you out".     His stories are short and can be read in just a few minutes.

I was looking around yesterday at Miette's Bedtime Story Podcast for something to listen to and was very happy to find a story by Quiroga that was new to me.   Miette in her description of "Three Letters and a Footnote" said it was totally unlike most of his other stories and also is told from the point of view of a young woman so I decided to experience it.  

Basically the story begins with a  twenty year old woman writing the editor of a magazine.    She encloses a story about her commute to work on a street car (the setting for the story has not been given but based on the text and the life of the author I am guessing it is meant to be seen as Buenos Aires, Argentina or Montevideo, Uruguay.)    The woman tells the editor she wants him to publish the story but change the author to himself as people will not believe a woman could have written it.   It is about her experiences over the last five years riding the street car to work.   It is really all about how she sizes up the men who ride the street car in terms of their interest in her.   There are special commuter train cars for women here in Manila (and elsewhere) for women only because of "train perverts" who use the crowded conditions to press up against women and I guess this is not a new thing based on this story.

Quiroga does a good job projecting the thoughts of the young female narrator as she described her five years twice a day rides on the street cars, packed with mostly men.    There is a kind of interesting surprise twist to the story but it is just incidental to the pleasure of the story.

I experience podcasts very differently from a written work.  I am sure most people do also.  I listened to the story three times.

For sure read his "The Decapitated Chicken" first then try some of his other works if you like that.     My guess it will be your first read by an author from Uruguay so you will also add another country to your list if you are trying to read with a lot of diversity, not a bad goal at all.  

The main purpose of this post is to spotlight for a second time Miette's Bedtime Story Podcast.


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