Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent. In the Christian community, this marks a new beginning and cause for celebration. And now that it’s December, allow The Short Story Station to be the first to greet you Happy and Blessed Holidays!
Christmas season sort of makes me nostalgic. It reminds me of things I value, like family, friends, and amore. It also reminds me of what has ended and what to hope for in this new beginning. These are the same things I considered in choosing our December short stories. And since I’ve always associated short stories with gleaning, I am very interested to learn what we might glean from them. But before I go on, I hope you enjoyed our November choices. If you have any thoughts that you wish to share regarding the stories, or anything else by both John Cheever and Alice Walker, please let us know.
Referential by Lorrie Moore (from Bark: Stories)
I have not read Lorrie Moore before this short story. She had paved her way to literature, winning an O. Henry Award and an International Fiction Prize from The Irish Times. Her humor was dubbed as mordant and her take on marriage realities are something to look forward to. So, I was prompted to acquire her recent collection, Bark: Stories.
Referential is Moore’s homage to Vladimir Nabokov’s Symbols and Signs, from 1948. Both writers approached the subject of “referential mania” and “closure” from a different perspective. While Vladimir’s direction tends to be detached, Moore’s is personal, thus, giving it an altered climax. I admire Moore for braving this pastiche. Not only did she pattern it with Nabokov’s cadence, but with his words as well.
The Bread of Salt by NVM Gonzales (from The Bread of Salt and Other Stories)
It is presumptuous of me, maybe, to regard Néstor Vicente Madali González as a Hero of Literature, for shaping and clearing the way for Philippine short stories. I have great admiration for this National Artist (1997) who once wrote that “fiction has an autonomy of its own.” He had a slow and gentle way of uncovering his characters and a keen observation of human nature.
The Bread of Salt, Pandesal to most Filipino, is the staple food on the breakfast table. It was dubbed “the poor man’s bread,” because it was created during the war era as an alternative to rice when the poor cannot afford to buy them. Humble bread that signifies a humble stature, NVM Gonzales used this as his stage to emphasize that dreaming and realizing one’s dream are two different things.
You may read these stories by following the links below. Again, Happy Holidays! Celebrate what this season brings. And enjoy reading!