October 21, 2007

Short Story Sunday

Kerfol
by Edith Wharton

Kerfol is the name of an estate(a castle to be exact) that our nameless protagonist is looking to buy. On a visit to check it out he is greeted by an handful of dogs. They don't bark; they just watch. Upon returning to the village we are told the story of the mystery of the dogs on the estate. We are told about a young, lonely woman married only 3 years and of her overprotective and ultimately cruel husband and how he lashes out when the maiden makes friends with a neighbor. Then we hear of the apparent murder of her husband and her defense in court. It has everything to do with the dogs.

Unhappy women contemplating an affair or entertaining inappropriate male company and the disaster that follows is a common theme is Wharton's stories. Was she trying to convince society or herself? And some innocent coming along to protect the afore mentioned women is also common. Her women are never confirmed to have committed any sins but the husbands are always portrayed as deserving of their fate. Wharton's pain comes through in her tales. I wonder what her husband thought?

The Triumph of Night
by Edith Wharton

Mr. Faxon, a personal secretary traveling to his position, is forgotten at the train station on a snowy winter's night but is given shelter by the young Mr. Frank Rainer, a man threatened by a severe case of tuberculosis. Mr. Rainer is the ward of one of the richest men in the area. But as Faxon watches the interactions between Rainer and his uncle he is disturbed with the vision of a ghost that looks exactly like the uncle but the uncle's usual benevolent face is replaced on the ghost with one of the darkest hatred. When Faxon flees in the night he is followed by disaster.

I really enjoyed this story. First of all, there were no unfaithful wives and abusive husbands. Secondly, it was well-written and well presented to hold on to its mystery to the end. It was long enough to be engaging but easy to get through in a sitting. And no confusing endings.

3 comments:

Eva said...

I love your new look!! Pumpkins! Halloween! hehe

Nymeth said...

There is a short story by Edith Wharton in an anthology of short stories I got recently.. I think I should read it next Sunday!

Petunia said...

Eva-thanks! Since I learned how to make my own headers I plan to have fun.

Nymeth-Wharton's writing is very accessable and smooth. She is on the list of my top five favorite authors.