Monday, May 16, 2011

Reader's Diary #713- William Lychack: Stolpestad

One of my favourite reasons for hosting Short Story Mondays is the referrals to short stories I'd otherwise most likely miss. Last week Teddy Rose reviewed William Lychack's short story, "Stoplestad" and interestingly, her one quibble with the story which she enjoyed nonetheless, was the 2nd person narration-- which in turn is the thing that piqued my interest the most. I've been finding an increasing number of books and stories written this way over the past year or so and so far, I've enjoyed all of them.

I can't really say that the 2nd person narration in Lychack's story is necessary. Whereas normally I feel such a style forces the reader to become part of the story, I didn't really feel that with Lychack's story. Instead my brain simply translated it into third person, and I moved on. Fortunately it's a great story whatever the narrative perspective.

Stolpsetad is about a cop (the role the reader is supposed to take), on the final hour of his shift on a summer Saturday afternoon. His last call is to handle a situation involving a boy and an injured dog. It's the shifting balance of mundanity and tension that makes the story works so well.

On a personal side, I found myself thinking of my hometown, or more correctly, the place where I grew up-- I haven't really called it home since I moved away almost 17 years ago. And yet, like many of those who grew up in Twillingate, Newfoundland, and like Stolpestad, the police officer in Lychack's story, some people never leave. I'm not judging, I just find it interesting how some people feel the need to go, yet others feel the need to stay. Even people in my family can be divided along these lines-- incidentally, I'm in the minority group. The feeling that I get when I go back to visit must be completely foreign to those who stayed. How about you, did you you move away or stay? Or would you ever go back for good?

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


Julie @ Read Handed said...

I moved out of my hometown about 7 years ago, but only went about 200 miles away. I still visit my family often, but as my life is elsewhere, I find it difficult to stay for longer periods of time. I would move back - my husband and I have talked about it - but it would need to be under the right conditions, i.e. job transfer, etc. I don't think we would just pick and move there.
I talked about John Updike's "A&P" today. You can find it here.

Tea said...

I'm not sure how this meme works. I love to read short stories. I hope in the next couple of weeks to get a handle on how this meme works. The comments are so interesting.

John Mutford said...

Tea: Welcome! Basically all you need to do is read and review a short story (or collection) on Monday and leave a link here. I only do short stories that people can find for free online, but that's not a requirement. I hope you'll consider taking part!

Margot said...

I moved away from my hometown for college and have lived elsewhere ever since. When I married we lived near my husband's hometown and, after a while, that became my hometown. I visit with my family often but they are the reason for the visit, not the place. After 40+ years away, I have no attachment to the place.

I like your comments about 2nd person narration. I'm not sure I've noticed that enough to have an opinion. Now I have to go read the story.

I read and reviewed a Susan Glaspell piece. Your can find it HERE.

Anonymous said...

I left my hometown for a few years and then came back.That was like 11 years ago, and I'm still not always sure I made the right decision.

I went with fantasy again this week.

JoAnn said...

I left my hometown when I went to college. Moved farther still when I got married. Now we are back within 20 miles of where I went to high school, but I don't feel much of a connection. My current town is my new "hometown".

Second person narration seems to be gaining in popularity, but I'm not a big fan.

I read Katherine Mansfield this week:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I left my hometown 24 years ago and I rarely go back to visit, now that my family has all moved on to other places. I am happy to be from Winnipeg, but don't feel a pull to live there. Not so for my adopted home, which I still miss, 14 years after moving away.

Off to read your offering!

Teddy Rose said...

I thought you would like this one John!

I moved about a 3 hour drive away to go to college. I later moved back near home for a few years and then moved to Vancouver. I have been here almost 20 years now. When I go "home" to visit it just doesn't feel like home anymore. I am a visitor there. Vancouver is home for me. I have a brother who lives here but my other brother and sister still live near the home we grew up in. So we are divided, like yours.

I reviewed Havana: