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

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Thanks Valerie!! International Women's Stories

"Nineteen Fifty-Five" by Alice Walker-USA
"Games at Twilight"  by Anita Desai-India
"Heavy Weather" by Helene Simpson-UK

In Thanks to My Daughter Valerie
for the perfect Christmas Book

When I saw my middle daughter Valerie, 16, had given me a copy of  The Penguin Book of International Women's Stories I was totally happy to get it as I love reading short stories by people, especially women, from all over the world.  I admit I was even happier to see what an excellent very thoughtful gift she had given me.  One of the reasons I read a lot of fiction by women authors is to help facilitate my understanding of my daughters and their world, a very different one from the one I lived in at 16.  Of course I soon looked over the collection to see if there were writers I wanted to read, new to me writers and authors from countries that might help me with Project 196 in which I am attempting to post on a short story from all 196 countries of the world.  The answer to all of these questions was a resounding Yes!   Today I will post briefly on the stories I have so far read.

"Nineteen Fifty-Five" by Alice Walker (USA, 1944, best known for The Color Purple) is a very popular novelist who focuses on the life experiences of African Americans from the southern states of the country.  "Nineteen Fifty-Five" cover about thirty years in the lives of a very Elvis like singer whose manager bought a song from a woman for $1000.00 and went on to make it the start of a career that would make mega-millions.   We see how the singer, basically a country boy, keeps in touch with the woman over decades and how the sale of this song and the huge wealth of the singer changed both of their lives.  There is sadness in the story but it is basically a wholesome feelgood kind of story.  

"Games at Twilight"  by Anita Desai is a simple very family oriented story about children in India playing a universal kid's game-hide and go seek.  Anita Desai  (1937, India) is a very well known novelist that I have wanted to read for sometime.  Thanks to Valerie I now want to read her more of her work.  She has been short listed for the Man Booker Prize three times.   In the story we see the wonderful natural beauty of the setting and we feel that we are there with the family. This was a beautiful story.

"Heavy Weather" by Helene Simpson (UK, 1959) is a very moving story about a married couple with two children, a girl four and a new infant son.   One of the the things they talked about and they admit bothered them, especially the mother who does most of the work taking care of the children, is that they no longer have much time to read, something they loved.  They share a passion for the novels of Thomas Hardy, especially Jude the Obscure.  I really enjoyed this story a lot.  (I have previously read and posted on her short story "Diary of an Interesting Year".)

Thanks Valerie-and there are thirty-six other stories in the collection!


valerie sirr said...

Such a sweet note to go with your great present!

Becca said...

These stories all sound fantastic! I would love to get my hands on this book. I have also wanted to read Anita Desai for a while, as I love Indian authors.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Lovely post, Mel! And a noble reason for wanting to read fiction by women authors.

shaunag said...

What a wonderful present and delightful note. You must use the note as a bookmark and keep it! Great stories indeed, thanks for posting.

JoV said...

Lovely present from Valerie. A beautiful collection from some of the world's influential women writers.