October 01, 2007

Short Story Sunday on Monday (again)

Where Their Fire is not Quenched
by May Sinclair

Eva's review had me reading this story. I once held the fear that hell would be to put me back into the worst situation in my life and then to replay it for eternity. Now I know it was not an original idea. Ms. Sinclair puts an interesting spin on the unquenchable fires of hell. In this short story we quickly follow the disappointing love life of Harriet Leigh til her death where the story continues to explain her afterlife experience. And what a chilling thought it is.

I had not heard of May Sinclair before but according to Wikipedia she was a popular and prolific writer. She coined the phrase "stream-of-consciousness writing" in regards to Dorothy Richardson who preferred to think of the technique as interior monologues. I like that phrase better myself.

Afterward
by Edith Wharton

"Oh, there is one, of course, but you'll never know it." This is the opening line in regards to the ghost who inhabits an old house that Mary and Ned Boyne will be buying. They are told that the ghost is not discovered to be a ghost til some time afterward. And that is the case in this story. There is a playful guessing about who the ghost is but once all the facts are known it is without a doubt.

I always find it amusing when a short story has chapter breaks. That tells you it is a longer short story. This one is about 40 pages in length. This allows dimension instead of just simple two-dimensional storytelling. And finally, a Wharton tale that doesn't leave you confused at the end. It is all clearly laid out.

4 comments:

Eva said...

I felt bad for Harriet-what a horrible eternity.

The thing I found kind of weird about the Wharton story is that if there's a ghost haunting this really old English house, you'd think it wouldn't be so current. You know?

Rhinoa said...

They both sound quite interesting. Are you reading them from an anthology?

Petunia said...

Eva-I thought it interesting that the ghost first appeared before the man was dead. How does that happen?

Rhinoa-these stories came from Witches' Brew, as recommended by Eva. But I also am reading out of The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton and a Dover Thrift Edition of Great Ghost Stories.

Carrie K said...

I found most of Edith Wharton's ghost stories to be kind of odd. Out dated maybe? The only one that really got to me was the one about the dogs. That one made me cry.