Monday, August 30, 2010

Reader's Diary #645- Téa Obreht: The Sentry

Last week, Carol at Carolsnotebook chose Roddy Doyle's short story "The Plate" as her Short Story Monday pick. I wasn't too interested in reading another Doyle story, but I was interested in where it appeared: The Guardian's "Summer Short Story Special." Besides Doyle, it featured stories by Hilary Mantel, David Mitchell, Barbara Trapido, and Téa Obreht. I chose Obreht for a few reasons: she's a young author that I wasn't familiar with and she's from the former Yugoslavia.

Despite Obreht's age (she's only 25 years old), "The Sentry" seemed very old-school to me. I don't mean that as an insult at all, for it's an extremely well written story. But it would seem less out of place in an anthology of classic short stories than in a contemporary collection.

Oddly, it's the 2nd story I've read in as many weeks that's featured a mastiff. I don't know enough about dogs, let alone specific breeds, but something about the mastiff must have resonated with Stacey May Fowles (Fear of Fighting) and Téa Obreht. However, whereas Fowles seem to use it to illustrate a kind of confused loyalty, Obreht's dog is more intense, illustrating the relationship between fear and power. While I'd certainly choose to Fowles' dog over Obreht's if I was picking a family pet, I appreciate the amount of tension Obreht's brings to the table.

This is one of those stories you'd just die to talk about with someone else. It seems powerful but I haven't quite nailed it yet. What was the point behind the father's final act? There's a clue in the paragraph, "'Sit,' he said." I just know there is.

(Did you write a story for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below.)


Teddy Rose said...

You got me quite curious with this review. Just downloaded the story to read.

I read one you reviewed back in April, Quality Street

Anonymous said...

Thanks, off to read story. I've linked to my review of Electric City and other stories.

Loni said...

Interesting sounding story. I tend to gravitate to young authors, but get disappointed if they sound too old.

A little late in the day, but here's a link to my post.