Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Book: Short Short Stories

I picked this up at Reader's Feast for a tiny $3.95, it's part of Penguin's 70 Year's Birthday celebration series - 70 'novlets' by authors ranging from Chekov to Hunter S. Thompson, all for the wonderfully cheap price. I got Eggers because I've been so inspired by his writing before, he writes so cleanly, clearly and simply. His voice is strong and vibrant and so easy to read. Each story is very short - around 400 words. Here is a link to most of the stories on The Guardian's website in the UK. My favorite one is: Woman, Foghorn which starts off as a story about a woman who lives in a small landlocked town but who yearns for the sound of foghorns so she decides to move - the narrative then morphs into a criticism of the Bush Administration - all in 400 words! Only Eggers can pull something like this off [unfortunately this is the only one I can't find up on the Guardian site, but the rest are up there for your reading enjoyment]. Here is an excerpt from another, Sleep to Dreamier Sleep Be Wed:
"There was a group of people, called the Americans, who once had a very vivid nightmare, simultaneously. The nightmare, which lasted many years, was nightmarish in many ways - but one notable facet was that in this nightmare the vice-president of their country was someone so outwardly and cartoonishly evil that his existence seemed ludicrous and wholly unbelievable, even in a nightmare. In the history of nightmare-villains and movie-villains and villains drawn with crayons by troubled children, this man stood above them all, though he was not very tall. Or maybe he was tall, but it was impossible to tell, given he walked very much like a hunchback, his head set deep into his shoulders and favouring one side. This way of walking seemed suspect, but it was nothing compared with the way he spoke. He spoke out of a small and dark corner of his mouth, in a way that was so comically fiendish that it seemed a put-on. If an improvising actor, asked to conjure a bad man or perhaps a minion of Satan, conceived of such a way of talking, his acting coach would say, "No, no. Pull back. Way back. We're doing the vice-president here - not Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein." But this was indeed the way the vice-president spoke and walked. And his laugh? A mirthless thing, a chilling "Heh heh heh" (again, emitted from a dank corner of his mouth) accompanied by a forced shaking of his round fleshy back." Read the rest here.
I also picked up Hunter S. Thompson: Happy Birthday Jack Nicolson. Great reading for only $3.95 and you cannot beat that folks! ;-)


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