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

Monday, December 4, 2017

“The Red Bow” - A Short Story by George Saunders - April 21, 2009, in Esquire

Click here to read “The Red Bow” by George Saunders

Webpage of George Saunders

In December we plan to post on at least four 21st Century American Short Stories and four Yiddish Stories.  In January we are planning to pair Bolivian and Iraqi stories.  If this works we will continue this through 2018, maybe from now on.  

This morning’s story is by George Saunders, author of Lincoln in the Bardo, Booker Prize Winner for 2017 and several collections of short stories.  (You can find lots of information on his webpage, linked above.) There are a number of very interesting conversations and talks with him on YouTube, I especially enjoyed his conversations with Karen Russell.  

“Kill every dog, every cat, she said very slowly. Kill every mouse, every bird. Kill every fish. Anyone objects, kill them too.” -  from “The Red Bow”

“The Red Bow” is set in a vilage, we don’t learn where.  We know it is close to now as one of The characters checks their E Mail.  

A vilage child has been killed by a dog.  Panic spreads and in the very moving opening scene the Family whose daughter was killed shoots their other four dogs, animals like Family to them.  They are not rabid, no one knows how they got sick and really there is no evidence they are.  In a vilage meeting they vote to kill all The dogs and for extra safety the cats also.  This is all caused by the death of the one girl, based only on an irrational fear.

To me this seemed like a fable about predjudice, if one of millions of a race is a criminal, then they all are.  We see this attitude sadly spreading in American and Europe now.  If you look back to what happened to Yiddish speakers this story may have a deeper impact.  

You can read this story at the link above.  

Ruffington Bousweau, IV, Intern
The Reading Life 

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