Friday, March 09, 2007

Lunchtime read: The Best Short Stories

If Kipling is not writing about soldiers then he seems to pick up on a nautical theme and so both of the next stories are based on or around ships. There continues to be an inventiveness about space and the senses are challenged with the uses of shapes and lights in the second of these stories. From that perspective there is plenty of stuff here for a creative writing student to pick up on.

The Limitations of Pambe Serang
In this story of revenge a man discovers that a stoker on board the ship he is also serving on has eaten his food and he vows to exact revenge and waits years but finally tracks him down and as he lies ill asks the enemy to come closer and stabs him through the ribs. The murderer is kept alive so the law can hang is to make sure justice is done.

A revenge story that shows that it is not only possible to find someone in you wait long enough but that in the end taking revenge creates two losers not just one.

The Disturber of Traffic
From violence to madness with an old sailor telling another of a story of an acquaintance who went mad manning a passage that got clogged up with sea faring traffic. The streaks of the waves start to torment him so as a result he builds and plants wreck buoys and blocks the channel and is finally caught and stopped but appears in the nude making odd comments. He recovers but is never quite able to get over the incidents in the passage.

A great example of how easy it is to pass the narrative over from one voice to another and allow someone not even present to talk via reminiscences.

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