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

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

"Love So Fleeting, Love So Fine" - A Short Story by Carol Shields- 8 Pages - included in The Collected Stories of Carol Shields- 2004

 This year, Buried in Print, a marvelous blog I have followed for over ten years,is doing a read through of the short stories of Carol Shields. I hope to participate fully in this event.

The more I read in the stories of Carol Shields the more grateful I am to Buried in Print for turning me on to her work. There are sixty some stories in the collection,it is my hope to read and post on them all in 2024.

"Love So Fleeting, Love So Fine" is the 15th story by Carol Shields I have so far posted upon.  It opens with a rather  man seeing a sign in the sign in the window of an orthopaedic shoe store, "Wendy is Back".  He does not know Wendy and wonders why her return should be of significance.  He begins to wonder where Wendy has been.  He then imagines that the clients of the store must have received tender and careful treatment from her.

"From North Winnipeg they came, from East Kildonan and Fort Garry and Southwood and even Brandon so that their warped and crooked and cosmically disfavored feet could be taken into Wendy’s smooth young hands, examined minutely and murmured over—but in that merry little voice of hers that made people think of the daughters they’d never had. Into her care they could safely put the shame of their ancient bunions, their blue-black swollen ankles, their blistered heels. Her strong, unerring touch never shrank when it came to straightening out crippled toes or testing with her healthy thumbs that peculiar soft givingness that indicates a fallen arch. By sheer banter, by a kind of chiding playfulness, she absolved her clients of the rasp of old calluses, the yellowness of soles, the damp dishonor attached to foot odor, foot foulness, foot obloquy, foot ignominy."

He concludes the story with some reflection on women he has loved.

The Carol Shields Literary Trust Website has an excellent biography

1 comment:

Buried In Print said...

I really liked this story. I felt like I could imagine being in his mind, in his imaginings. I also appreciate that Shields has both men and women musing on love and affection, on how relationships might be (but sometimes their imaginings don't align with reality) and now only have love be the preoccupuation of women. With her novel Larry's Party, we really get a sense of this too. In this story, I flagged this passage: "Love invents potent strategies, and people in love are resourceful as well as devious. Wendy, Wendy is back. But for how long?" And, oh, that last passage you've almost feels like a chant or a rhythmic and precise is her prose. I'm glad you're still enjoying these stories, Mel; I'm happy we're both reading them this year!