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, October 26, 2013

"Overweight" by Elspeth Davie 1980

"Overweight" is the third story by Elspeth Davie I have read and loved in the last few days. My research indicates that everyone who reads her work, loves it but sadly for them very few people do.  

(born March 1918 - died November 1995) - Kilmarnock, Scotland 

Elspeth Davie, née Dryer, was born in Kilmarnock in 1918. Her father was a Scottish minister; her mother was Canadian. Although she spent much of her childhood in England, she returned to Scotland to study at Edinburgh University and Art College. Rather than complete her degree, she trained as a teacher and taught art in Scotland and Northern Ireland. It was there that she met her husband, the philosopher George Elder Davie, whom she married in 1944.

She started writing stories for literature journals such as the Transatlantic Review, Cornhill and London Magazine, and her first novel,Providings, was published in 1965. Several other novels followed, but it was for her short stories that Davie was best known. Her anthologies included The SparkThe High Tide Talker, and The Night of Funny Hats.

In 1977 Elspie Davie won a Scottish Arts Council Award, and in the following year she won the Katherine Mansfield Prize. Her final collection, Death of a Doctor, was published in 1992. Her stories typically had ordinary settings into which extraordinary characters and events took place.

Elspeth Davie died in Edinburgh in 1995.

"Overweight", like the other two stories by Elspeth Davie I read this week, is a wonderful story.  It starts out as an airplane is getting ready to take off.  An announcement comes on, saying the plane is overweight.  They offer half off fare for a volunteer to get off and take the next flight.  The man who volunteers is almost painfully thin.  He wonders how his weight can impact such a giant machine.  As he wanders around waiting for his flight he begins to reflect on the weight of his life.  Much of the story is an extended metaphor on weight.  I really liked this story a lot.

For sure I will be reading more stories by Elspeth Davie.  If you have any experience with her please share it.  

1 comment:

Ana Wu said...

She is great. I've sent an email with an article on her.