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

Saturday, March 5, 2011

"The Interlopers" by Saki

"The Interlopers" by Saki (1910, 7 pages)

Please consider participating in Irish Short Stories Week
"I would be honored if you
will join me on March 14 during
Irish Short Stories Week"-Maria

The more I read Saki the more I like him.     (Hector Munro-1870-to 1916-UK-his pen name comes from the ring bearer in "The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam") .   In the last year I have read about 15 of his short stories and posted on 10 of them.   I really intended to stop posting on his stories once I had posted on  (they are a bit alike I will admit) three of them  even as I kept reading them (they are often the story of the day at East Of the Web:  Short Stories) but I kept finding stories I wanted to share with readers of my blog.  

Saki's short stories are in the surprise or twist ending short story category.They are usually gentle satires about the gentility of the Edwardian Era.  His prose is written to a very high standard.   I think after just a few stories you could probably pick one out of literary lineup.        As you read them you do begin to try to anticipate what the twist will be.     I prefer his stories to those of O Henry, if I had to choose.   If you do not like surprise or twist ending short stories, then you will not probably like Saki.    If you like well written prose, enough detail and characterizations to make things come alive for you and enjoy seeing if you can come up with the ending, the you should give Saki a try.  

As the story opens, set in the forests of the Carpathian Mountains, we meet two local noble men.   They have a long standing legal feud over a large parcel of forest.   One of the men's grandfather lost it in a suit to the other but the loser has never accepted the judgement of the courts as valid.    There is a blood hatred between the men that started two generations ago.  

One day both men happen to be on a solitary hunt in the disputed forest.   Suddenly they see each other.   Both begin to ask themselves if it right to shoot the other without warning.    While they hesitate a huge tree crashes down on each of them, injuring and trapping them.    Here is where the story gets very interesting.    The twist ending was just wonderful and really made me think.    Once you read the story, stop for a second and reflect on the fact that Saki was killed in battle just a few years after this story was written and it will seem   really pretty deep and prophetic for just a "twist ending short story".  

I think this would be a good "class room story" for those 12 and up-it is in the public domain and can be read online here.     You can read this story in just a few minutes.    I will be reading more Saki and I will share the ones I like best with readers of my blog.

Mel u

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