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, July 19, 2018

“Cliffs of Fall” - A Short Story by Shirley Hazzard - 1961

My Q and A Session with Catherine McNamara

Shirley Hazzard 

Born 1931 Sidney, Australia 

Notable Books
The Transit of Venus
The Great Fire

Died 2016, New York City

I begin my initial post on a work by Shirley Hazzard with an offer of thanks to Catherine McNamara, author of two highly regarded short story collections, Pelt and other Stories and The Cartography of Others for suggesting I read Shirley Hazzard.  I decided to begin with the title story of her collection Cliffs of Fall.  

My post today will be brief, I have number of works I hope to complete this month and I’m planning lots more posts in honour of Shirley Hazzard.

“Cliff of Fall” is set in the beautiful Swiss alps.  Three people are on holiday together, Cyril, his wife Greta and their good friend, Elizabeth.  Elizabeth’s husband has not long ago died in a plane crash. The purpose of the Holiday is to help Elizabeth cope with this death, only a few months after they were married.  Hazzard marvellously brings into play the complex emotions involved.  We see Elizabeth struggling with guilt as she tries to get on with her life.

Hazzard makes wonderful use of the brilliant background of the Alps.  We don’t learn a great deal about the history of the characters but they have real verisimilitude, obviously cultured sensitive individuals.

There are ten more stories in the collection, I’m planning to read all of them.

Mel u

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