Monday, January 09, 2012

Reader's Diary #793- Teolinda Gersão, translated by Margaret Jull Costa: The Woman Who Stole the Rain

Recently I read another blogger-- a white blogger-- say that she loved to read First Nations literature because she found it challenging. I appreciated and agreed with this assessment on all levels: from my experience, and please allow me to make some generalizations, it is different than literature written by other Canadians; it is challenging for us white folks who didn't grow up in that culture; and I also love it for exactly those reasons.

I was reminded of first nations literature today while reading Teolinda Gersão's "The Woman Who Stole the Rain". Basically a man goes to Lisbon on a business trip, gets put into an extravagant presidential suite after a booking mistake, and overhears a conversation between two African cleaning ladies who entered his room without knowing he was still there. The conversation becomes a second story, perhaps a parable, that takes place in Africa. The businessman is taken aback by the story, unnerved but a little unclear as to why.

What I loved about "The Woman Who Stole the Rain" is how well it captured my feelings after reading some first nations literature. The slight discord between this man's world and the world the cleaning ladies had drawn his attention to, must be no less discordant than the setting of the cleaning lady's tale and the businessman's suite. There's a subtle friction that underlies the whole story. You get the sense at the end that no learning had taken place, but that the potential was there. I loved it.

Thanks to Teddy for pointing out this story last week.

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


Teddy Rose said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I agree with your assessment.

I read another really good one, a true account this time:

Anonymous said...

A different take on a story that I also really liked. Thanks. My short story today left me speechless.

Julie @ Read Handed said...

Sounds like an excellent story. I'll be sure to check it out. I read some flash fiction today - a story called "All Mimsy".

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You get the sense at the end that no learning had taken place, but that the potential was there.

Yes, that's it exactly. Great story, thanks.