Monday, April 03, 2017

Reader's Diary #1566- Aruna Harjani: The Tour Guide


For those who still think that a short story doesn't provide the space to develop a character, I invite you to read Aruna Harjani's "The Tour Guide."

Set in Bali, the titular character is a heartbroken man who nonetheless puts on a smile for the tourists. Even worse, a large number of them are newlyweds. Is this a case of penance? That would be a difficult case to make. He doesn't seem to think he was ever at fault, nor does his disposition suggest his role is a punishment. Perhaps the newly in love reminds him of what he once had and he's choosing to live by the old adage, "it's better to have lost and lost, than never to have loved at all."

Of lesser importance, but interesting in any case, is the couple he's escorting around on this particular day. I'm still left trying to decide if their final request was selfish (ignoring the guide's woes) or sensitive (trying to distract him).

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