Monday, March 05, 2007

Lunchtime read: The Best Short Stories

Rudyard Kipling’s problem is that he is associated with The Empire and a period of British history that is now seen as one of imperial racism and something usually deliberately forgotten. But, and this is a point well made in the introduction, in terms of style and ability Kipling deserves to be read. That was a point also made to me by a friend who advised me to read them.

The Courting of Dinah Shadd
The first story is a struggle mainly because Kipling insists on writing out the Irish dialect as one solider recounts how he came to be with his wife. You grasp that the essence of the story is that no sooner has the solider made a commitment to Dinah Shadd than he is drunk getting involved with another girl. He then ends up getting cursed by the mother of the rejected girl and over the camp fire reveals that every part of the curse came true. The narrator does not know what to say and is luckily saved from having to comment by the arrival of other soldiers.

Too early to give a verdict but that was not quite what I was expecting and the dialect made it more difficult than it needed to be. Still got to give it a second chance so more tomorrow..

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