But I suppose everything about me gave the impression of a wounded man, determined not to move.
Collected Stories by Raymond Carver
I had not spoken to my wife in many months. The effort it took not to think of her was so great that in the evenings my bones ached. He told me his name was Marcial. I must have glanced down at my book again. He was unshaven and had a tired look to him. His hair was completely, shockingly white. I passed him the book. It was all so tactile: he felt its texture, fanned its pages roughly, and smiled at the satisfying sound they made. There was a woman on the cover, a stern, dark-haired beauty, looking down a Paris street.
Or something like that. He ran his index finger over her face. We clinked glasses. It was difficult to tell in the low light if he was a man at the beginning or the end of a yearlong bender.
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His beard was growing in white. He scratched the stubble. Eventually a television came on, and I pretended to read while Marcial followed a soccer match with muted enthusiasm.
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There was a red team and a blue team. When pressed, I sided with red, and this was met with approval. A few more people came in, some others left, but the real story I want to tell here is about how this man followed me home. It was late when I finally left, but it seemed much later. It seemed, in fact, like it should already be morning.
A brief survey of the short story: Jean Rhys
It was a short walk to the hotel. As I gathered myself to go, Marcial pulled a few bills from his coat pocket and dropped them on the bar. He was a dour man in his fifties, thin and balding, who had watched the entire soccer match without a sound, his hands folded neatly in his lap.
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Marcial turned to me. Tips are for workers. I paid and said my goodbyes. He was ten paces back, shuffling up the hill.
When he saw that I had seen him, he shrugged and, with great slowness, sat down on the curb, stretching his legs into the empty street. Across the street, bathed in fog, there was indeed a tiny, manicured park, with regal stone benches and neatly trimmed rosebushes. It seemed to have been dropped in from another country, an imitation of a postcard sent from far, far away. It was a dump. But in the alley behind it—can you picture this? I kissed my wife in that spot when we were seventeen.
We scratched our names in the bricks with my switchblade. Of course, you had to carry a knife in those days, not like now. Marcial took a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and lit one without offering. His white hair seemed to glow. He blew smoke and stared into the street. Here is a fragile, once famous singer, turning his back on the one thing he loves; a music junkie with little else to offer his friends but opinion; a songwriter who inadvertently breaks up a marriage; a jazz musician who thinks the answer to his career lies in changing his physical appearance; and a young cellist whose tutor has devised a remarkable way to foster his talent.
For each, music is a central part of their lives and, in one way or another, delivers them to an epiphany.
Master of the Intricacies of the Human Heart
These accomplished tales create worlds full of secrets and treacheries. Moving from the drawing rooms of prewar Paris to the lives of men and women in wartime France, here we find the beautiful work of a writer at the height of her tragically short career. In-Flight Entertainment by Helen Simpson. A dazzling collection of stories from internationally acclaimed writer Helen Simpson, touching on everything from global warming and technology to health and aging to marriage and family life. These thirteen stories brilliantly share the small details of interaction that reveal larger secrets and inner conflicts of contemporary living.
They unerringly capture a type, a social class, a pattern of behavior, a generation. The Bridegroom by Ha Jin. Every story here is cut like a stone. Bark by Lorrie Moore. These eight masterly stories reveal Lorrie Moore at her most mature and in a perfect configuration of craft, mind, and bewitched spirit, as she explores the passage of time and summons up its inevitable sorrows and hilarious pitfalls to reveal her own exquisite, singular wisdom.
Here are people beset, burdened, buoyed; protected by raising teenage children; dating after divorce; facing the serious illness of a longtime friend; setting forth on a romantic assignation abroad, having it interrupted mid-trip, and coming to understand the larger ramifications and the impossibility of the connection. Gimlet-eyed social observation, the public and private absurdities of American life, dramatic irony, and enduring half-cracked love wend their way through each of these narratives in a heartrending mash-up of the tragic and the laugh-out-loud—the hallmark of life in Lorrie-Moore-land.
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One Book, One Community Community-based reading initiatives are a growing trend across the country, and we're pleased to support these programs with a wide range of resources. About the Book. About the Author. May have originated in a blogpost by Marc Chernoff entitled 30 things to stop doing to yourself. I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know? No source in Hemingway's works has been found. May have originated in a post to the Usenet group alt.
Wikipedia has an article about: Ernest Hemingway.
Related Then Until Morning: A Short Story Collection
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