Monday, May 14, 2012

Reader's Diary #828- Johan Harstad (translated by Deborah Dawkin and Erik Skuggevik) : To

I came across this on one of your blogs yesterday (though I can't remember whose, so my apologies!). Basically one of you clever folk had used TravBuddy to show where your reading has taken you. I decided to do the same using my blog to refresh my memory. It was a time consuming process (I find the Blogger search tool hit or miss) but seeing as I was shut in with a nasty stomach bug anyway, it gave me something to do. I counted all short stories and books written by authors born in a particular country or set in a particular country. I was somewhat surprised by the results. I thought I read a whole whack of stories from Africa last year but the map suggests I've got a long way to go. And I've not read anything from South Africa? Still, 32% of the countries covered isn't bad I suppose. To see the countries, just hover over the green areas to see the name or click here to see the list. (Incidentally, in real life I've been to 6%).
This week, I push to make it a third of all countries with Johan Harstad's "To" representing Norway. I have read Henrik Ibsen before, but not since I'd started this blog 7 years ago, so I didn't count him.

Anyway, "To" is about a old man in a hot air balloon dumping old photos of him and his deceased wife. Perhaps it was the balloon that triggered it, but it was hard for me not to shake the image of the old guy from (the equally short titled) Up movie. It's not exactly an uplifting piece (sorry about the pun), but it does hold just enough quirk to keep it interesting (versus irritating). Not only is the setting attention-grabbing, but the way the story is told-- as one half of a dialogue-- keeps a reader on his toes while adding to the loneliness of the story.

Read it and I think you'd agree that the title is perfectly suited.

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


Loni said...

I'm going to have to check out this TravBuddy website.

To sounds like an interesting story.

Here's my post this week.

Teddy Rose said...

I have seen some great films from Norway, so I will have to check out the story. Great map, perhaps some day I'll have time to work on that.

I read a great story from Lingering Tides by Latha Viswanathan, titled Brittle:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I am intrigued. Off to read, I am!

Perogyo said...

This is such a great idea!

I have trouble finding stories set in specific places in Africa. Like Anna Hibiscus, it's always just Africa. Hard to pinpoint!