Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Short Stories: Madeline Miller and Saki

I am a short story fan. We've established this understanding over the years. I know a number of you are not, but I appreciate the fact that you continually humor me. ;)

So when my reading slowed a bit in October, I found myself diving into short stories. They're not much of a commitment and they allowed me to feel as if I was still making "progress." Whatever that means. I'm not reading for a promotion, I realize.

After I finished The Song of Achilles earlier this year, I purchased Madeline Miller's short story, "Galatea," since it had just come out. My relationship with this one has been rocky, first of all. By no fault of the story but totally because of the marketing. I downloaded this one from Barnes and Noble, where the website clearly says it's 100 pages long! Sweet!!! That's a novella! By Madeline Miller! For $2.99.

But stop. The actual document is 35 pages long. WHAT THE HELL. But the bigger WHAT THE HELL came when I started reading the thing and realized only about 16 pages of story is "Galatea" and the rest is SONG OF ACHILLES PREVIEW.

Frustrated was me. False advertising? YES.

And as for the story... it's just OK. Galatea is a gorgeous marble statue brought to life by her sculptor husband. He's begun to tire of her, their daughter is getting older, and daddio is sculpting her a new sister (or a really young lover for himself?). Needless to say, Galatea isn't happy with these implications and begins to hatch a plan. Decent story, but not worth $2.99 when I thought I was getting 100 pages of Miller's awesomeness.

Onward and upward...

Saki is a DUDE! Did you know? I think I knew this at some point, but then I got it in my head that Saki was indeed a lady. Surprise!

I was reading one of my long-time bloggy friends, Iliana from BookGirl's Nighstand, and she mentioned having read "Laura" by Saki recently. So, I did a bit of Googling, and I too read "Laura" by Saki!

You can, too. 

So basically there are these two women. Amanda who's very nice and Laura who is a vapid wench who happens to be dying. She seems to think she'll be reincarnated as some lower creature because of her distasteful attitudes in life. And she MAY be right. Because she dies, and then some funky things begin.

This is a super short, quick read, and I found the writing pleasant and the story delightfully creepy--but not in a traditional, ghostly way.

I will definitely be seeking out more stories by Saki.

Do you ever read short stories when your reading is slowing? 



19 comments:

  1. I listened to an audiobook collection of Saki's short stories a few months ago, and loved them! So witty and snarky in all the good ways teehee. Glad you enjoyed this!

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    1. Exactly! Wit and snark make me happy, so I'm really excited to read more of his work.

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  2. No, but I need to read more short stories. Tor has 3 collections of short stories called Some of the Best from Tor.com. They have 2011, 2012, and 2013 just came out. Best of all, they are free for Kindle! I have all three; may start one of them today.

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    1. COOL! And I saw Corsets and Clockwork on your Nook in your Instagram photo yesterday. Have you read that one yet?

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  3. I really enjoyed Galatea, but I knew going in that it was very much a short story. If I'd've thought it was a novella I would have been disappointed in it.
    The one issue I had was that I couldn't get a good handle on the setting. It felt both modern and very dated.

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    1. I get that. I kept getting that modern day feeling....maybe. Wasn't totally sure.

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  4. Oops, forgot to say that the only Saki I've ever read was The Lumber Room, and that was many many years ago at school. Don't remember too much, but he is one of the classics of short stories isn't he?

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    1. He is one of those big name short story writers, so I have no idea why I haven't read any of his stuff before now. Looking forward to trying The Lumber Room! Thanks, Fence!

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  5. Man that is definitely false adverrtising! Glad the actual story was good though...

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    1. Right? I was so irked! And yes, I was glad of that. At the very least. lol

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  6. I almost never read short stories, no matter what else is happening with my reading. I like the idea of them much more than I tend to like them in practice.

    That sucks about the Madeleine Miller story! I'd have been so disappointed if it were me. :(:(:(

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    1. Yeah, I was pretty disappointed. Not Maddie's fault, but still a drag.

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  7. Oh man! Now I'm glad I didn't download Galatea! I loved Song of Achilles so much, it's probably better than I avoid it. I totally just had your "Saki" moment with Wilkie Collins this week. Color me embarrassed.

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    1. Ha! Yes, probably re: Galatea. And I can see Wilkie being a girly name.

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  8. Hmmm...not happy with Achilles and his stupid weak tendon area right now ;) lol. But, Saki, I know. I don't typically read short stories. The ones I have and love are those I've discovered through teaching from high school text books. I've taught Saki to 9th graders before...The Open Window. I really should read more here and there because I've found plenty of them that I love.

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    1. LOL, re: Achilles. I've come to a lot of favorite short stories from teaching, too, and I never fail to run across more I love. :)

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  9. I was definitely blown away by Galatea like I was by Achilles but it was still good for a quickie read. Saki sounds interesting...

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    1. *definitely NOT blown away, even.

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  10. MADELINE MILLER??? When I received Songs of Achilles I basically just yelled at people to read that book. So seriously, this is on my list like way at the top!

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