Deal Me In – Week 36 Wrap Up

20140907-221414.jpg

 

New Deal Me In Posts This Week:

Randall shares a funny(!) tale from Edgar Allan Poe, “The Angel of the Odd” http://timeenuf.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-angel-of-odd-by-edgar-allan-poe.html

James reads Haruki Murakami’s “The Year of Spaghetti” and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “The Arrangers of Marriage”http://jamesreadsbooks.com/2014/09/02/haruki-murakami-vs-chimamanda-ngozi-adichie/

Dale tries on Junot Diaz for the first time, with that author’s story, “Edison, New Jerseyhttp://mirrorwithclouds.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/junot-diaz-edison-new-jersey/

Katherine read Raymond Feitz’s “Geroldo’s Incredible Trick” http://katenread.wordpress.com/2014/09/06/deal-me-in-week-36-geroldos-incredible-trick/

I read Nikolai Gogol’s signature story, “The Cloak
https://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/the-cloak-by-nikolai-gogol/

Other Short Story-related links:

Are short stories “annoying buzzing insects set upon this world” to distract writers from longer works? Interesting article. http://www.locusmag.com/Roundtable/2014/09/anton-strout-guest-post-the-eternal-epic-struggle-of-novels-vs-short-stories/

Nice interview with Margaret Atwood (I love her) and her new short story collection. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/qa-margaret-atwood-on-her-new-collection-stone-mattress-maddaddam-and-how-to-kill-a-man-in-the-arctic/article20375640/?page=all

I particularly liked the following quote from her:

“I talk about money and artistic excellence and there’s only four forms: There’s a good book that makes money, there’s a bad book that makes money, there’s a good book that doesn’t make money, and there’s a bad book that doesn’t make money. So of those four, the first three I can live with.” 🙂

Margaret Atwood

20140907-221425.jpg

Another review of the upcoming Atwood release is at http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/the-stone-mattress-by-margaret-atwood-book-review-these-short-stories-are-razor-sharp-9700477.html

I’m a big fan of this series and it has contributed many stories to my Deal Me In short story decks. The 2014 edition comes out next month. http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/pageviews/review-best-american-short-stories-2014-exhibits-writing-storytelling-best-blog-entry-1.1923816

Advertisements

The Cloak by Nikolai Gogol

20140907-213111.jpg

(A Russian card for a Russian story)

I may have pulled a muscle in my arm this weekend from patting myself on the back for my decision, when putting together my roster for Deal Me In 2014, to dedicate the clubs suit to “stories by Russian authors.” 🙂 After drawing the Ace of Clubs this week, I’m now 9 out of 9 in picking great stories from that suit!

This was only the second work by Nikolai Gogol (below) that I’ve read. (I tackled his story, “St. John’s Eve” back in May. https://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/st-johns-eve-by-nikolai-gogol/

20140907-214458.jpg

I knew of this story, The Cloak, by reputation but knew nothing of the plot. It reminded me a little of Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” in that its protagonist, Akakiy Akakievitch Bashmatchkin, is a minor official/apparatchik in the Russian government, whose primary duty is to copy letters and other official documents. Already rendered vulnerable by fate’s having allotted him a timid nature and now a low-paying job, he seems primed to be toppled by the next blow that the great forces of the world decide to deal him…

Gogol writes: “There exists in St. Petersburg a foe of all who receive a salary of four-hundred rubles a year, or there-abouts. This foe is no other than the Northern cold, although it is said to be very healthy.”

You see, Akakiy’s old and humble cloak has become threadbare and his daily journeys to and from his office are taking their toll on his nearly exposed back and shoulders. A tailor refuses to mend it “there’s nothing to sew a patch to…” and a new coat is beyond his means. The story takes many twists and turns as Akakiy tries to resolve his situation. I’m afraid it is a sad story, but it has its share of surprises and is thick with quotable lines and dialogue. If you’d like to read it yourself, it’s available online at http://www.classicreader.com/book/2026/1

(The story’s title is often translated as The Overcoat. This title makes more sense to me)

20140907-213120.jpg

Have you read any of Gogol’s stories? Which are your favorites?