Thursday, July 12, 2007

Short Stories

I've mentioned in the past my love of short stories. I'm lucky that AL Kennedy - a writer whose work I greatly admire (as I know you will know I never tire of saying) - writes very fine short stories. Back in June she wrote an article for The Independent about short stories and below is an extract:

"Stories are allegedly what novelists knock off when they're feeling lazy, mere journalism with a dash of purple prose, something to read in the toilet, a waste of trees.

At which point I get a migraine and then ask you to bear with me for a moment, because together we have to rediscover what the short story is really all about. So go and get a glass, maybe one with a stem, if you're in that kind of household, but definitely a glass, not one of those plastic things your children chuck at one another. I'll wait here.

Sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin. Tap the glass gently with your nail, or a pen. If the glass has a fault or a crack, it won't make much of a sound. If it's flawless, it will sing, resonate beyond itself. That's the best way I can show you the nature of the short story. It may be small, fragile, but to create that kind of seamless clarity - that's a massive challenge to any writer, and a remarkable gift for any reader... make no mistake, the short story is an exercise in perfection."

A perfect description of a perfect form.

The full article can be read on The Independent's website.

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