Making Use Of The Miniature In Storytelling

Some of the oldest tales about miniature creatures living in oversized land come from fairytales: Thumbelina and Tom Thumb are the first that come to mind. My method was mostly metaphorical: what if Thumbelina wasn’t actually small, she just felt small? — Emma Donoghue, explaining how when rewriting fairytales she took tales from the oral …

Cumulative Plots and The Fifth Story by Clarice Lispector

“The Fifth Story” is a work of microfiction by Clarice Lispector. I tend to analyse short stories by looking at their dramatic arc, but what of a story like this? Surely “The Fifth Story” does not fit the seven-step story structure I seem to love so much. (I love it because it works, for both …

Alice Munro, Queenie & Coercive Control

One remarkable thing about Alice Munro: her ability to see aspects of psychology which only drew public attention decades later. In “The Bear Came Over The Mountain” we have a beautiful character study of a philandering man and, his self-justification for wrong-doing and what has since been called sexual solipsism. In “Queenie” Munro paints a …

Flowering Judas by Katherine Anne Porter

“Flowering Judas” is the standout short story by Pulizer Prize winning Katherine Anne Porter, included in a collection published 1930 when Porter was 40. This short story reminds me of “A Dill Pickle” by Katherine Mansfield. Both stories are clearly about the way in which women are socially acculturated into providing emotional labour for men, …

The Leader of the People by John Steinbeck

The Red Pony (1933) by John Steinbeck is described as an episodic novella, or interconnected short stories. “The Leader of the People” is one of those stories. I really enjoyed this story from The Golden Argosy collection (as recommended by Stephen King), as it still feels fresh. The viewpoint of the young boy is great, …

Dump Junk by Annie Proulx

“Dump Junk” is a short story by Annie Proulx, included in the Bad Dirt collection. This is a revisioned fairytale based on The Magic Porridge Pot and similar. Proulx’s shorts stories in many ways allude to, cite, and subvert a number of myths, legends, fairy tales, and folktales converging as common cultural patrimony. — Benedicte …

Man Crawling Out Of Trees by Annie Proulx

“Man Crawling Out Of Trees” is a short story by Annie Proulx, included in her Bad Dirt collection (2004). Many of the stories in this collection are in the tall story, brutal, regional, humorous tradition, and readers who don’t share Proulx’s sense of humour haven’t connected to these stories as well as they connected to …

The Doll’s House by Katherine Mansfield

“The Doll’s House” is a short story by Katherine Mansfield, set in New Zealand, written 1922. For young readers, this is a good introduction to Mansfield’s work. Its main themes are seen across children’s literature and are readily accessible in this work for adults. Unlike stories such as “The Garden Party” and “Bliss”, the reader …