I’ve read two fantastically brilliant short stories recently and wanted to share them with the world. They are, however, about as different from each other as two stories could possibly be. The first one is titled English Cousin and is by Patrick Sommerville. The story focuses on a teenage boy who has his English cousin thrust upon him. The uneasy relationship between the two and the main character’s inability to get out of his rut drive this story along. It was as if the entire world ignored what he had to say every second of everyday – and he decides to take it out on his somewhat smarmy cousin.
It’s part of his debut collection of stories Trouble. So far the entire collection has been great. It’s funny and quirky, but the collection uncovers some real truths about the human condition and how ridiculous we are as animals. How our worries and insecurities make us crazy like a dog that won’t stop scratching itself.
The other story, I found in the May 5th New Yorker. It’s by Annie Proulx and titled Them Old Cowboy Songs. Surprisingly it has not been released online. This means you’ll have to read the May 5th issue OR other people’s thoughts on the story. The other choice is to wait for her new collection to come out in September. This story was powerful and again showed how our choices and weird decisions can leave a permanent mark on our lives.
It involves a young couple who buy some land in Wyoming in the 1800s and the struggles they’ve escaped and still face in trying to scratch out a living and a family.
Both of these stories come at the human condition from different perspectives but still manage to point out the absurdity of everyday life.