Tuesday, October 06, 2009

My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead

Jeffrey Eugenides has chosen twenty-six short stories by twenty-six different writers that have been grouped around a common theme. Just as NPR's radio show This American Life chooses three stories each week that fit one given theme, so likewise does Eugenides for this collection; these aren't just any love stories. The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer describes, in his introduction, his love for a poem by the ancient writer Catullus, which describes his affair with a certain young woman who has a pet sparrow. At first, Catullus is annoyed by how much attention his sweetheart gives to this sparrow, resenting any attention that does not go to himself. However, things are worse when this sparrow dies, for then his girlfriend is broken-hearted and not in the mood for love. And, on top of this, all her crying has ruined her looks!

In each of these stories, either there is a sparrow, or the sparrow is dead. I must admit that in a couple cases, I wasn't sure how a story fit this mold, exactly, but even the pondering was enjoyable. The stories I found to be especially engaging were, Natasha (David Bezmozgis), Some Other, Better Otto (Deborah Eisenberg), The Hitchhiking Game (Milan Kundera), How to Be an Other Woman (Lorrie Moore), The Bad Thing (David Gates), and Jon (George Saunders). They were all good, interesting stories.

So. I've already whined about how it's suddenly darker all the time, and I'm going to do so again, because it's already close to my bedtime, and I just haven't had enough time today. This is partly because it's colder and darker in the mornings, so I'm not peeling myself out of bed early enough to fit both my exercise and my other, frivolous, stuff into my life. Which is my fault, but.

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I need a rocket-booster alarm clock, I know...


Doug said...

The nice thing about a book, 26 short stories in a book is less irritating than 26 stories in an hour would be on This American Life. Even if you can read 26 stories in an hour.

You can borrow Walela. She's sort of a wolf-powered alarm clock when I try to oversleep.

Nessa said...

I make myself get out of bed in the morning even though I want to stay there until light. My frivolous stuff doesn't happen unless i do and I like my frivolous stuff.

TLP said...

I don't mind the chill at all, but I love light, so I'm with you there.

Bone said...

It's always hard for me to get out of bed when it's cold, too. And by hard, I mean, near impossible.