Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"The Feast of Nemesis" by Saki

"The Feast of Nemesis" by Saki (1914, 4 pages)

After posting on Saki's delightful short story, "The Open Window"  in May I had no plans to post on more of his work.    Saki (pen name of Hector Munro-1870 to 1916-English) is considered a master of the very short story.  My prior post has some background data on him  I find his detached ironic (some would say smug and overly clever) tone a lot of fun.    As I read his stories I find myself saying "this is really clever and cute and a bit naughty also".   "

Almost every day I check the UK web page, East of the Web: Short Stories to see what their short stories of the day are.    This morning I found a story I enjoyed enough to want to post on it to bring it to the attention of others who might enjoy it also.   "The Feast of Nemesis" (1914, four pages)  begins with Mr and Mrs Thackenbury talking about the fact that there just seem to be too many holidays.    They talk about the hypocrisy behind many Christmas list, how Valentines day is over done etc.    Mr.  Thackenbury comes up with a great idea:

"There is no outlet for demonstrating your feelings towards people whom you simply loathe. That is really the crying need of our modern civilisation. Just think how jolly it would be if a recognised day were set apart for the paying off of old scores and grudges, a day when one could lay oneself out to be gracefully vindictive to a carefully treasured list of ‘people who must not be let off.'
As I read this I was reminded of an Episode of the Seinfled TV show (this show comes on about 14 times a week here in Manila!) where George Costansa's father had created a holiday (celebrated on December 23) 
he called  Festivus Day on which you can air your complaints about the people in your life.   (You can learn more about Festivus Day and few  clip from the TV show here).   It turns out this holiday has some roots in ancient Rome as a day where the lower classes could mock their betters.   

The story continues on with Mr and Mrs Thackenbury really enjoying listing some of the people they would honor on that day and debating what they would do to them.    I think part of what I like about this story is just seeing what fun Mr and Mrs. Thackenbury have talking to each other.   You can probably read this story in under five minutes and I think you might enjoy it.   I know I did.   I think Elaine from Seinfled 
would for sure enjoy it for its slightly devilish and superior feel and its perfect prose.   

Mel u


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

This does sound like a great short story. I had not heard of it before, so thanks

Nora said...

Great post :)
Random question...Do you know of any websites where i could read books online for free? like japanese ones for example? Also...Is there an end date to the japanese literature challenge 4? Thanks :)

Ash said...

This short story sounds great and I adore Seinfeld. I've seen that episode about a hundred times (it's always on in the US too).

Suko said...

I will definitely read this story! I used to watch Seinfeld but I never saw the episode you mention. I'm sure it's funny.

Mel u said...

Diane-I hope you enjoy it

Suko-thanks as always

Ash-I love Seinfeld also-I can watch the same episodes over and over and not get bored!

Nora-I sent you a response through your blog-feel free to e mail me with any questions at

Tasha said...

I'm sure I've read something by Saki, but I skimmed through a list of works and nothing looks familiar. I'll have to check this story out and then track down that episode of Seinfeld.