Hello everyone! How was your October? Did you (or your little ones) go trick-or-treating this Halloween? Or did you take a breather by going home to the province to spend time with loved ones, despite the two-day weekend affair that was the Undas (All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day) holidays? We at the Station hope that whatever you chose to do over the short holidays, it had been worthwhile.
And how did you find our selected short stories for October, Neil Gaiman’s A Study In Emerald and Yiyun Li’s A Sheltered Woman? If you don’t have your own blog or other social media account but would love to share your thoughts, you can let us and everyone else know by posting in the comments section of this post. We are interested to know what you thought of them.
As we bid adieu to October and welcome November, let’s revisit the October stories one last time.
This Sherlock Holmes pastiche, the title referencing to the Holmesian story, A Study In Scarlet, was well-received by the Station contributors. Personally, I had well-grounded reservations where non-readers of fantasy are concerned, but I was confident that Gaiman’s stories are versatile enough to appeal to fantasy fans and non-fans alike. There was also the possibility that readers who have not read Sherlock Holmes or H.P. Lovecraft might have problems relating to the story or understanding certain concepts, but that one felt inconsequential to me. I have read neither Holmes nor Lovecraft, but I love this story nonetheless.
Some thoughts from Station contributors:
“Without knowing anything about Scarlet or much of the Sherlock Holmes literature, I was able to enjoy it. The edition that I read is laid out like a two-column newspaper with various advertisements featuring Victor Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll, and Vlad Tepes (I don’t recognize the last one). I couldn’t make any sense of these advertisements or decide if they have any bearing to the story, but they are welcome sights and probably a celebration of the horror genre.” – ANGUS
“Readers will be held in awe on how Neil Gaiman fluidly merged the horrific myths of the Old Ones into the plot. Alternately, advertisements were inserted throughout this newsletter-type article; depicting Vlad Tepes, Dr. Jekyll, Spring-heeled Jack, and Victor Frankenstein as questionable entrepreneurs, rather than famous villains.” – LOUIZE
“It has the right amount of suspense, character development, and exposition for a short story. However, the question that needs to be asked is will a reader who does not know a thing about Sherlock Homes and the Cthulhu mythos still be able to appreciate the story? In my opinion, yes, although the impact will be highly diminished since the plot twists within the story will no longer have any effect. Yes, the story is effective as a mystery but I fear that the whole story will be lost to those who do not know anything about Sherlock Holmes or Lovecraft’s creations.” – BENNARD
When I first read this story, I knew that it would be perfect as one of my two stories for the month. The story of Auntie Mei, temporary newborn nanny who had no problems detaching herself from the babies (and mothers) she was hired to help, was so compelling that I wanted everyone to read about her. More than a hundred babies to her name, all of them cared for in the first few weeks of their lives, and then after a month or so, Auntie Mei would move on to the next client. She prefers not to be part of their histories, and has relinquished her own with her family, until Chanel and her baby come into her life. Suddenly Auntie Mei is creating histories, attaching herself. Why?
It is a story about motherhood and the invisible cord that continues to bind children to their mothers long after the physical one has been severed. It is also about cords that are created between mother and child who share not one drop of blood between them.
Some thoughts from Station contributors:
“For the great part, I enjoyed reading Aunt Mei’s unspoken thoughts. Her honesty and adherence to principle is admirable. She has a sharp wit and focused undertaking of matters at hand. Her strictness with efficiency made her a well-sought nanny by many expecting parents. She upholds her reputation so well that she had a hundred and thirty-one babies on record under her belt.” – LOUIZE
“In a New Yorker interview, Li reveals that Auntie Mei’s future is clear to her, offering us the consequences that could follow in two possible scenarios. It’s basically a toss between harm and help, but again, I ask these: what harm can Auntie Mei afflict? What help do Chanel and her baby need, exactly? This makes me feel that emotional attachments are harmful especially in the context of Auntie Mei’s life, and if that’s the case, would it be better to unharmed yet unattached?” – ANGUS
“A Sheltered Woman is another in the long line of stories that Yiyun Li has written about relationships and alienation. Only this time, Yiyun Li has taken it to its extremes by showing a woman that is adamant in not forming emotionally substantial relationships even though her subconscious clearly desires it. A wonderful, heartbreaking story that doesn’t offer any resolution, only questions, and isn’t that what great storytellers do?” – BENNARD
Thank you for reading the October stories with us! We hope that you will stick around to read and discuss the November stories with us, Alice Walker’s Roselily and John Cheever’s The Swimmer. Kindly check the tabs for the links to the stories.
Finally, the Short Story Station would like to welcome our newest contributor, Ms Lynai Lamason-Garcia of It’s A Wonderful Bookworld, who has previously contributed a guest post with her short reviews of our September stories. WELCOME TO THE STATION, LYNAI!