Book Diary: Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules (Ed. David Sedaris)

CHILDREN PLAYING BEFORE A STATUE OF HERCULES Ed. David Sedaris

(finished reading on 22/09/2012)

I like short stories a lot, but would usually read a volume by a single author, rather than a collection of different authors, like this one, and I may not have read this at all had it not been edited and introduced by my favourite, David Sedaris.

Sedaris says in his introduction:

My hope with this anthology is that you’ll use it as a springboard and seek out everything these authors have written.

I have fulfilled this hope to an extent, as I have discovered some firm new favourites, particularly Flannery O’Connor, whose short story Revelation included in the collection was brilliant, perfect really.  I also really enjoyed, Jean Thompson, Lorrie Moore, Amy Hempel and Jhumpa Lahiri.  Reading each wonderful story after another was like eating a delicious meal of seventeen courses.

This line, almost the last of the book, I thought was particularly breathtaking.  It’s from Tobias Wolff’s story A Bullet in the Head and describes a man being shot during a bank robbery:

The bullet is already in the brain; it won’t be outrun forever, or charmed to a halt.  In the end it will do its work and leave the troubled skull behind, dragging its comet’s tail of memory and hope and talent and love into the marble hall of commerce.

Nice.

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