Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Short Story Week, #3

Today I want to mention a story collection I first read years ago, and have reread numerous times since. Ethel Wilson's Mrs. Golightly and other stories is one of my favourites. First published in 1961, it was made available in this New Canadian Library edition in 1990. From the back of the book:

The eighteen pieces collected in Mrs. Golightly and Other Stories bring together the many and subtle voices of Ethel Wilson, demonstrating her extraordinary range as a writer. From the gentle mockery of the title story to the absurdist reportage of “Mr. Sleepwalker,” Wilson exerts unerring narrative control. Revealing what is “simple and complicated and timeless” in everyday life, these stories also venture into irrational realms of experience where chance encounters assume a malevolent form and coincidence transmuted into nightmare. First published in 1961, Mrs. Golightly and Other Stories is a diverse and rewarding collection, unified by Ethel Wilson’s distinct and engaging wit.

I agree with that write-up, she has mastered many different ways of telling a story. I'll just leave you with a taste of the one I've read most often, the short monologue I Just love dogs, which was incidentally the first story Wilson ever published. The opening lines:

Well, said my friend from Vancouver, one Saturday I had lunch at the Club, you know, the Ladies' Club. I was leaving, and had just turned the corner of Dunsmuir Street, going down to Granville Street (that's our principal business street), and there, right out on the sidewalk beside the bank building, at the corner of Granville and Dunsmuir, but up a bit, lay the body of an enormous yellow-haired collie, apparently very old, and it was all stiff-looking. A beautiful dead dog.

There was no one near but an old lady with a string bag and little parcels, and she was poking the dog with her walking-stick, and saying, Poor dog, poor dog, what a shame to leave it here. And I felt just the same, and I said, Oh, dear, poor dog, what can we do?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by ~ I always enjoy hearing your comments so please feel free to leave some!