Ali Smith (1962 ….)

The unthinkable Happens to People Every Day

Taken from Free Love and Other Stories, Virago (1995)


In Catch Up Mode

In catch up mode as haven’t managed to post for a few days.  Stories from the last week or so are as follows;

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) – The Withered Arm

Joseph Conrad (1817-1924) – An Outpost of Progress

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) – At the End of the Passage

H G Wells (1866-1946) – The Country of the Blind

W Somerset Maughan – The Force of Circumstance

James Joyce (1882-1941) – The Dead

Virginia Woolf (1882 – 1941) – Kew Gardens

Joyce Cary (1888-1957) – The Breakout

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) – The Gioconda Smile

V S Pritchett (1900-1997) – The Fly in the Ointment

Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966) – Mr Loveday’s Little Outing

Graham Greene (1904-1991) – Across the Bridge

All taken from The Penguin Book of English Short Stories (edited by Christopher Dolley (1967)


David Means – The Spot (2006 edition of The New Yorker Magazine)

John Berger – Woven, Sir,  (2016 issue of the New Yorker Magazine)

Thomas Hardy

A Tradition of Eighteen Hundred and Four

From Wessex Tales (1888)

A possible sighting of Napoleon Bonaparte scouting the Channel coast for a crossing point in readiness for an invasion, or a tale from the imagination made real by its traditional telling?


Toby Litt (1968 ….)

It Could Have Been Me and It Was

Taken from Adventures in Capitalism (1996)

Imagine you (he) won the lottery. Imagine you (he) decided to make all your (his) life decisions for a year and a day based on advertisements,  and imagine also, that you (he) had decided not to believe what people (they) told you (him).  That’s how you (he) ended up in China, unable to make your (his) next move.Quirky and enjoyable and if you rad the story this will mean something but not unless.



Eudora Whelty (1909-2001)

Lily Daw and the Three Ladies

From The Collected Stories of Eudora Whelty, (1983), Penguin Books

Lily is an orphan, and not that bright.  The Ladies of the town have taken it upon themselves to look out for her future well being.  Should she take a job in service in Ellisville, or should she marry the xylophone player from the travelling band, whom they assume is only after one thing and is long gone.

Ronald Frame (1953 ….)

Fruits de Mare

From The Minerva Book of Short Stories I, edited by Giles Gordon and David Hughes (1988).  Fruits de Mare was originally published in the London Magazine in 1986.  Ronald Frame writes novels, plays and short stories and is from Glasgow.

Set in a restaurant where the only things that define it are an aged mirror on the wall and the fact that it serves seafood almost exclusively, we are not even told whether the restaurant is close to the coast.  The fish on the menu is a device and forms part of the backdrop to a series of vignettes about the various diners, all couples, but all in different combinations: a pair of lovers, a business man and his afternoon’s plaything, a divorced couple, a grandmother and grandson, a step mother and stepson.  The story is about getting below the conversations  of others and working out their stories.  This is done through the eyes of the narrator,  the only diner who is eating alone.