A short story I recently re-read

‘We Wave and Call’ by Jon McGregor Available here. Read it in 30 minutes. Thinking about how structure and themes interact… The story begins after the young man’s death, in the present tense (simple and continuous). For me, the opening creates a sense of detachment – it’s a combination of the use of present tense;Continue reading “A short story I recently re-read”

A short story I recently read

‘Help Me Follow My Sister to the Land of the Dead’, by Carmen Maria Machado Read it here in about 25 minutes. Thinking about form and structure…  I’ve fallen madly in love with Carmen Maria Machado’s writing ever since reading ‘The Husband Stitch’, which led me to read her debut short story collection, which ledContinue reading “A short story I recently read”

A short story I recently read

Ghost Days, by Ken Liu Read it here in about 75 minutes. Thinking about ideas and structure… I wouldn’t normally read sci-fi, but I’ve been broadening my horizons recently. In this short story, Liu combines aliens and computer programming with ideas about identity – these are common themes, from what I’ve read of his work,Continue reading “A short story I recently read”

Three novels with interesting structures

I love reading books and stories with interesting structures. Here are three good examples: Beloved, by Toni Morrison You can read the opening here. This beautiful and brutal novel captures some of the horrors of slavery, and its aftermath. Protagonist Sethe is haunted by the past – brought up a motherless slave, life on theContinue reading “Three novels with interesting structures”

A short story I recently read

Clementine, Carmelita, Dog by David Means Read it here in about 20 minutes (if you aren’t subscribed to Granta, you can still read about half of the story). Thinking about narrative perspective… I absolutely love this short story, partly because it’s told from the third-person limited point of view of a sausage dog, and partlyContinue reading “A short story I recently read”

A short story I recently read

The Upstairs People, by Laura van den Berg Available here. Read it in about 20 minutes. Analysis: Thinking about time and structure…  This story begins in the present – one year after the unnamed narrator’s father died. Then, only three sentences in, we jump back, and the narrator details a strange dream about her fatherContinue reading “A short story I recently read”

A short story I recently re-read

‘The Bus’, by Shirley Jackson Available here. You can read it in 40 minutes or so. Analysis:  Thinking about structure…  The story begins with the simple statement ‘Miss Harper was going home, although the night was wet and nasty.’ The word ‘home’ is repeated 5 times in the opening paragraph, as the reader is told (without aContinue reading “A short story I recently re-read”

Two stories, one theme

This week, I read ‘My Sister, the Serial Killer’ by Oyinkan Braithwaite, and ‘The Girl with the Louding Voice’ by Abi Daré. Both are first novels by female Nigerian authors, and both highlight an issue that plagues modern Nigeria: the commodification of young women. Both authors tackle this issue in different ways, in different genresContinue reading “Two stories, one theme”

A short story I recently re-read

‘Girl’, by Jamaica Kincaid Available here. It’s very short – less than a 5-minute read. Analysis:  Thinking about elements of story…  The thing about short stories is that they’re able to defy expectations in a way that novels cannot (with a few exceptions), and the way this short story handles structure is a fantastic exampleContinue reading “A short story I recently re-read”

Book review

‘Educated’ by Tara Westover An Extract from the opening is available here. This is the beautiful and shocking memoir of a woman who grew up in a difficult family situation, but escaped (in every sense of the word) through education. She lost a lot in the process, but gained a tremendous amount as well, althoughContinue reading “Book review”