Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2011-2012 Winter Short Story Festival 35:70


Wake for Susan by Cormac McCarthy (1959)

Cormac McCarthy beautifully describes the setting:


Here in the graveyard, scrubby pines grew boldly within a circle of oaks and hickories.  The stones nestled secretively beneath the tangled honeysuckle.  They were moss-mellowed and weather-stained in that rustic way which charms lovers of old things.


The author makes me wonder when he writes, "it was a real year."  A real year compared to what years?  Are some years real and others not?  This sense of wonder sparks the need to listen for an answer to his thoughts.  He reveals that in 1834 a young woman died and that she was probably a lot like the author, on  the brink of something great.  1834 is not too long ago, but where is this woman's story?  The inscription in the rock, on top of her grave, silently witnesses her life.  
The reader finds here a need to know more about the people that shaped our present, by the work of their hands. I am excited to read his novel the Road, for he knows "the people" from where he grew up.
We are half way through the winter short story festival for 2011-2012.

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