Category Short Story Collections

Dimanche and Other Stories by Irène Némirovsky: Fraternité (Brotherhood)

In Fraternité, the main protagonist, Christian Rabinovitch is an old Jewish man. Although wealthy, he is a reserved man, and his wife’s death ten years ago has affected him profoundly. His marriage had brought him a “feeling of stability and peace in and around him,” and now without his wife as his anchor, he feels […]

Dimanche and Other Stories by Irène Némirovsky: Liens Du Sang (Flesh and Blood)

In Flesh and Blood, the Demestres have a weekly family dinner every Sunday. These dinners are held at the widowed matriarch’s house, and attended by her three grown sons; Albert, Augustin, and Alain, their spouses; Sabine, Claire, and Alix, and her divorced daughter, Mariette. For their mother, Anna, these family dinners are a way to […]

Dimanche and Other Stories by Irène Némirovsky: Les Rivages Heureux (Those Happy Shores)

It’s new year’s eve, and Christiane, an elegant, radiant woman of twenty-two is out at a ball with her mother, Madame Boehmer. Christiane has a good time at the ball, for she is a woman “who views the world as a mirror in which she sees only her own image, made lovelier by the interest […]

Dimanche and Other Stories by Irène Némirovsky: Dimanche (Sunday)

Dimanche and Other Stories is a book that I have been looking forward to reading as a part of my Irène Némirovsky Year-Long project. During her lifetime Némirovsky wrote over thirty short stories, and ten of her stories are included in Persephone Book #87. Dimanche, the title story, juxtaposes a mother and a daughter’s experiences […]

London Stories: The Umbrella by Hanif Kureishi

I’ve been wanting to read Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia for a while now, so I was glad to see his short story, The Umbrella included in London Stories. Roger, the narrator of The Umbrella is a father of two young sons, who has separated from his wife recently. One evening he takes his […]

London Stories: Islington by Irma Kurtz

Islington is an essay taken from Irma Kurtz’s book; Dear London: Notes from the Big City. Irma Kurtz is an internationally renowned agony aunt, who worked for Nova in the mid-1960s, a UK magazine which touched on ‘taboo subjects’ for its day. A native New Jerseyan, Kurtz had settled in London after traveling in Europe […]

London Stories: In Defence of the Underground by Doris Lessing

In Defence of the Underground took me back to my summer days in London and left me feeling nostalgic. Written in 1992, Doris Lessing’s essay is a description of a tube ride Lessing takes from Mill Lane station to Charing Cross. It’s a patchwork of her memories and observations where Lessing skillfully portrays a changing […]

London Stories: Daisy Overend by Muriel Spark

The Public Image is the first book by Muriel Spark I read. I was impressed by Spark’s story of Annabelle, a rising actress, and her husband Fredrick, a playwright who is extremely resentful of Annabelle’s success and goes onto to concoct a scandal to taint Annabelle’s public image. Although The Public Image was written almost […]

London Stories: Tigers Are Better-Looking by Jean Rhys

… You haven’t any idea how sick I am of all the phony talk about Communism – and the phony talk of the other lot too, if it comes to that. You people are exactly alike, whatever you call yourselves – Untouchable. Indispensable is the motto, and you’d pine to death if you hadn’t someone […]

London Stories: Coming to London by J. B. Priestley

Coming to London is J. B. Priestley’s reminiscences of his early days in London in 1920s. After working as a University Extension lecturer upon his degree completion at Cambridge, Priestly had decided to move to London to freelance. As a newly-wed with less than fifty pounds at hand, striking on his own might have been […]

London Stories: Mysterious Kôr by Elizabeth Bowen

Full moonlight drenched the city and searched it; there was not a niche left to stand in. The effect was remorseless: London looked like the moon’s capital – shallow, cratered, extinct. It was late, but not yet midnight; now the buses had stopped the polished roads and streets in this region sent for minutes together […]

London Stories: The Wall by William Sansom

The Wall describes a near-death experience of a firefighter on a night during air raids in London. At 3.00 AM in the morning, the unnamed narrator is out fighting a blaze with three of his fellow firefighters. The building is a five-storied Victorian warehouse, and it is their third job that night. They all are […]

London Stories: A Little Place Off the Edgware Road by Graham Greene

This is a very short review! I read Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair awhile back. I liked his writing, but the plot not so much – I was put off by the long talks of God – which pained me at the time because I was hoping Greene would be a good pick […]

A Forsyte Encounters the People, 1917 by John Galsworthy

A Forsyte Encounters the People, 1917 is from John Galsworthy’s novel On Forsyte ‘Change. Galsworthy who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1932 wrote a number of books on the Forsyte family. Even though On Forsyte ‘Change is not a part of The Forsyte Saga, it looks into the lives of older Forsytes before the […]

London Stories: The Elephant Man by Frederick Treves

I think most of you would be familiar with the story of Joseph Merrick thanks to the 1980 movie, The Elephant Man. I haven’t watched the movie, but I had a vague idea of who Joseph Merrick was before reading Dr. Frederick Treves first-hand account from the book, The Elephant Man and Other Reminiscences. For […]