Monday, September 28, 2009

Reader's Diary #527: Lee Henderson: Long Live Annie B.


Lee Henderson's "Long Live Annie B" may be the epitome of Canadian writing: a troubled upbringing, bad weather, a slight hint of a plot with an even slighter hint of an ending, and of course, depressing. I don't mean all of this as necessarily bad things, but mostly because it's just 2 pages long. Had he gone completely Munro, and dragged this thing out to 50-60 pages, I'd be ready to egg his house. But, in small doses, I enjoy the descriptions of mittens on a dashboard, of driving through slush, of life in Saskatoon. But ultimately, there is little more in Henderson's story. It's like going into a change room, trying on a Canadian life, and leaving without buying a thing.

There was one intriguing line however, and it begins "The night she killed him, it was thirty below..." Intriguing because that never happened, unless he meant in some figurative sense-- in which case, it was a dirty trick to get my attention that way. Good for him.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comment section below!)

9 comments:

Eva said...

LOL @ "Had he gone completely Munro, and dragged this thing out to 50-60 pages, I'd be ready to egg his house." Since it's only 2 pages long, I'm going to go check this one out! (I don't read enough Canadian lit.) I reviewed more stories from the horror anthology Poe's Children here.

Nan said...

Gosh, is that really what Canadian writing is about? Why, do you think? Certainly not Stuart McLean, eh? :<) I didn't care for my choice this week either and was grateful it was a very short story.

http://lettersfromahillfarm.blogspot.com/2009/09/short-story-mondaythe-sisters-by-james.html

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It's like going into a change room, trying on a Canadian life, and leaving without buying a thing. - great analogy!

I actually liked this story. And I would suggest that she did kill him, or thought she did, by abandoning him to a possible starlight tour.

JoAnn said...

"...trying on a Canadian life, and leaving without buying a thing."

Great line, John! I'll have to read this one. Here's my post for today:
http://lakesidemusing.blogspot.com/2009/09/short-story-monday-necklace-and-new.html

Kate said...

Now don't be dissing Munro on me! I'm just about to dive into her latest book - I've been looking forward to it for a while!

John Mutford said...

Eva: I'd love to hear your thoughts on Henderson's story when you're done.

Nan: According to Will Ferguson, yes that's what Canadian writing is about. It's what Munro, Shields, and a few others are about, yes, but there's more variety in Canadian writing than it usually gets credit for.

Barbara: Hey I think you're right! Because it was on the west side, where she said that sort of thing happened. Good on ya for not missing that. But still, why does she think she killed him? If the police took him on a "starlight tour," they were responsible. What really could she have done? She didn't rat him out to the police, did she? Is it supposed to be illogical teenage guilt?

Kate: I'm glad people enjoy Munro, I really am. I, on the other hand, hope never to read another Munro book. Ever.

John Mutford said...

Well it seems I got Lee's attention: http://twitter.com/leehendy

Hi Lee!

Megan said...

I just read your latest Yk'er column. It's OK for me to have a crush on you, right?

John Mutford said...

Megan: Why not? I have a crush on me.