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Monday, November 14, 2011

Reader's Diary #777- Isak Dinesen: The Blank Page

Isak Dinesen, a pen name for Danish author Karen Blixen, was the author behind Out of Africa, "Babette's Feast," and Seven Gothic Tales. I, however, was completely unaware of her or her writing until yesterday when I looked for a short story from Denmark. Though she died in 62, she certainly seems to have her fan base even still. Check out this website all about her life and works, maintained by Linda Donelson, a Dinesen scholar for over 30 years.

I set out to read "Babette's Feast" but couldn't find a free online copy so settled instead on "The Blank Page." It's framed as a story being told by an old lady who makes her living telling stories, as did generations of women before her. I get the impression Dinesen is describing a Gypsy character, though that term is never used. Fortunately the frame is as interesting as the story that follows, of a Portuguese convent that displays bedsheets donated from the royal family, sheets from the wedding nights of the princesses. It's a bit of a meandering story, but you do see the ending coming a little ways off. It's fascinating, and makes a strong case for the untold stories of the world.

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

5 comments:

Chrisbookarama said...

I haven't read any of her work. I seem to remember her being mentioned in A Moveable Feast (just a passing comment). I like meandering stories so I must check it out.

I read Susan and Father Christmas

Julie @ Read Handed said...

I've heard of Out of Africa, but haven't read any of this author's work. The Blank Page sounds interesting, though. I read "Bliss" today by Katherine Mansfield.

Teddy Rose said...

I loved the film version of "Babette's Feast", I saw it many years ago. I would love to read it and will certainly check out this short.
Thanks for bringing my attention to it!

I reviewed a very different kind of story: http://teddyrose.blogspot.com/2011/11/ballad-of-great-yukon-puke-on-by.html

Medea said...

I would love to read Babette's Feast, I will see if I can buy a copy.

I posted a
review
of The White Wife and the Brown 'Woman'

Namrata said...

Here's my take on her short story The Iguana
http://dancingelves.blogspot.in/2011/05/iguana-by-isak-dinesen.html