Friday 23 January 2015

The challenge – 13 short stories in 13 days – No. 1 and 2

The American Lover
Rose Tremain
I have set myself the challenge of reading one story a day from this collection for the next 13 days. Here goes!
Story 1 – The American Lover
Convalescing 60s wild child author confides her own true story to Portuguese housemaid during a power outage in England of the mid 1970s over a picture of her red E-type Jaguar in which she had smashed up her legs.  Her one novel is a steamy carbon copy of her own earlier youthful transgressive love affair with her older, deadbeat photographer of an “American Lover”, a act of rehabilitation by its one hit wonder writer. But she is struggling with both her emotional rehab after the affair and her physical rehab after her car crash. The story reminds me of an twisted round, inverted version of the old Cary Grant – Deborah Carr movie, An Affair to Remember and, not spoiling this one, I loved the ending.  It is a beautifully written story of the lasting impact of disappointment.
Story 2 – Captive
Her second story will make dog lovers everywhere will weep their hearts out and again it is a fine piece of short story writing. Unmarried, middle aged, dog lover Owen Gibb had to sell the family farm in Norfolk after his parents death and has started a dog kennel business much to the disgruntlement of his farms new owners and now neighbours.  He builds a pooch pad par excellence, with underground heating, lots of exercise space and business booms. Then an exceptionally cold winter strikes giving the new neighbours an opportunity to scuttle his success. As he discovers their audacity and alone tries to do whatever is necessary to save the dogs and defy their criminal actions.  The reader really feels for this man whose passion and love for dogs overtakes even his own wellbeing.
ashramblings verdict – great start to this collection

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