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Short stories 301-310

When I looked at the list of stories I have read so far I realised I had read more stories by men than by women, so I decided to focus on short stories by women for the whole month of November. I finished Girl‘s Night In, an anthology of stories by contemporary female writers from the UK, Ireland, the USA and Australia that was published to raise money for the charity War Child. These stories were mostly women's magazine fare, relationship- and friendship-oriented stories with with lots of holiday romances, heroines working in publishing (the book having been published when Bridget Jones was at the height of its popularity) and several bad friends getting their comeuppance while several good or 'ordinary' girls got a life and got the guy, with a few different ones in-between. All good and fine by themselves, but reading so many of them so close together did get a bit boring after a while, but by the time ennui had set in I was almost done with the book, so I thought "what the hell - I'll just finish it".
  • “The Power of Two” by Fiona Walker. About the perils of publicity and fame.
  • “The Truth is Out There” by Marian Keyes. Humorous tale about a young woman with relationship problems who acquires an unlikely guardian angel. Recommended.
  • “Rudy” by Lisa Jewell. A character study and sly tale about a young London slacker who gets an unpleasant but not altogether undeserved surprise. Recommended.
  • “A Swimmer’s Tale” by Stella Duffy. A story, almost a prose poem with sprung rhythms and a flowing quality, about grieving. Has a tacked-on, unnecessary ending sentence, but is quite otherwise good. Recommended.
  • “Post Haste” by Isabel Wolf. About a woman who has different ideas about her relationship with the man she is seeing than he does. I guess it’s supposed to be funny, but it falls flat.
  • “Cassandra” by Cathy Kelly. About a woman who finally discovers what that friend has been up to – the one who makes you feel like she’s doing you a favour, all the while riding your coat-tails and stealing your thunder but doing it so adroitly that you don’t notice.
  • “Access All Areas” by Jane Owen. A boring little story about a party girl.
  • “Love on the Underground” by Jessica Adams. About racial stereotyping. Rather funny.
  • “Fairweather Friend” by Patricia Scanlan. A woman finally frees herself from a poisonous friendship.
  • “Something Different” by Clare Naylor. About a woman who has the break-up blues.


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Short stories 221-230

From Norway:

The Blacksmith Who Could Not Get Into Hell”. Collected by Asbjörnsen and Moe. An amusing folk tale about beating the Devil. Recommended. (A different translation from the one I read.

“The Father” by Björnstene Björnsson. About a proud father and a parish priest.

“Skobelef” by Johan Bojer. A humorous tale about a horse that has a tremendous influence on a small rural community. Beautifully translated. Recommended.

From Sweden:

Love and Bread” by August Strindberg. A rather cynical tale about a man who discovers that one cannot live by love alone. Recommended. (This is such a very different translation that it makes me want to read the original to see which is truer).

“The Eclipse” by Selma Lagerlöf. A heart-warming tale about an old peasant woman who needs an excuse to invite the neighbours over for coffee. Recommended.

“The Falcon” by Per Hallström. A haunting tale about a peasant boy who rescues a hunting falcon. Beautifully translated. Recommended.

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