In Honor of Edgar Allan Poe – Father of the Short Story

Today is Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday; the “father of the short story” would be 202.

The New York Times book review section uses the insights of three famous authors – Francine Prose, Joyce Carol Oates, and Roxanna Robinson – all who have written both novels and short stories – to capture “Small Moments,”  their reflections on the short story form, with lots of ideas for short stories to read in …

  • Colm Toibin’s The Empty Family
  • Charles Baxter’s Gryphon
  • Edith Pearlman’s Binocular Vision

Toibin’s collection sounds a little depressing, with tales of melancholy and regret; likewise, Baxter’s disturbed Midwesterners;  Pearlman’s ” perceptive and funny” stories sound right for me.  

“Pearlman writes about predicaments – odd, wry, funny, and painful – of being human.”

My library only has her second collection – Love Among the Greatsguess I’ll start there.

For the New York Times Book Review article:

and for more on Edgar Allan Poe:

Not Ready for Prime Time

Always looking for new books, I found a bonanza in a full page spread in USA Today.  But when I tried to order them from the library, none were there.  Not unusual – it often takes a while for new books to hit the shelves here,

but all of them?

Then, I realized that this was an article of books yet to be published.  Some look good – just hope I can remember…

  • Wingshooters by Nina Revoyr (March)
  • The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown (January 20)
  • A Widow’s Story by Joyce Carol Oates (February)
  • The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obrecht (March)
  • The Land of Painted Caves by Jean Auel (March)
  • A Covert Affair: the Adventures of Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS by Jennet Conant (April)

cover still secret

For more:

The Last Week of a Marriage

Joyce Carol Oates

I was never a fan of Joyce Carol Oates; her penchant for evil, violence, and just plain weird  never appealed to me.  I never actively sought out her work, but when one of her short stories appeared in a New Yorker, I made myself read her contribution – and connected to her writing.

An excerpt from her newest book – a memoir – has the gripping quality of a suspense novel and the surreal facility of making the reader think she is telling a story – not the real experiences.   In “A Widow’s Story,” Oates recalls “the last week of a marriage” – when her husband of 46 years dies.

A Widow's Story: A Memoir

If you have ever been through the vigil of watching someone you love in a hospital, missing the moment of death by a hair, you will relate to her reality; if you have not, you will connect to her fiction.

The book will be published in March, 2011, and Oates promises  a book that is “ practical and darkly funny.”

If you’d like a taste now, get a copy of the December 13th New Yorker – page 70 to 79.