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

Sunday, March 3, 2024

"Midsummer" - A Short Story by Nancy Hale - first published in 1934 - Included with WHERE THE LIGHT FALLS: SELECTED STORIES OF NANCY HALE Introduction and volume compilation copyright 2019 introduction by Lauren Groff

Born: May 6, 1908 - Boston, Massachusetts 

Died: Sept 24,1988 Charlottesville, Virginia 

My first encounter with the work of Nancy Hale was over three years ago.

There are 25 stories in The Selected Short Stories of Nancy Hale. It is my hope to post upon each one.

Today's story, "Midsummer" centers on the romance of an affluent 16 year old  girl with the man who takes care of the family horses and gives riding lessons.  It is about class conflicts, loneliness, Irish immigrants, parenting lacks presented in Hale's exquisite prose. It is set in New England.

"Victoria Jesse was sixteen that sultry summer. She lived on White Hill in her parents’ Italian villa with the blue tile roof, so gruesomely out of place in the New England landscape. Her parents were in France, but the servants and old Nana were in the house and the garden was kept up by the disagreeable gardener, always on his knees by the rose bushes, which dropped thick petals on the turf. The water in the cement swimming pool was soup-warm and dappled with tiny leaves from the privet bushes around. The tennis court was as hard and white as marble, and the white iron benches drawn up around its edge were so hot all day that they could not be sat upon. The Venetian blinds in the house were kept drawn, and the rooms were dim and still, with faint sweat upon the silver candlesticks and the pale marble of the hall floor."

I will leave the plot for first time readers to discover.

1 comment:

Buried In Print said...

You've been so careful to avoid spoilers, but I can still say, without spoiling, that I thought it was remarkable how Hale explores lust and longing with a 16YO young woman so astutely and boldly, in, what the 1930s? And, as always, she captures class and privilege with a sharp gaze too. I'm so glad you encouraged me to buy her stories: they are truly remarkable.