Tuesday, 10 August 2010
The blush (Taylor) 236
More equally beautiful flowers on the cover of this collection of Elizabeth Taylor's short stories, the third one that I have read (just one more to go - A dedicated man), and a book that I would happily own in both of the green editions (I have the original green cover). And the book itself is absolutely wonderful, and probably my favourite of all of the Elizabeth Taylor short story collections - having enjoyed it so much makes up for the fact that I rattled through her novels because I enjoyed them so much and don't have any more that are new to me.
I often struggle with short stories - they need to engage my attention fast enough because otherwise they are over before they have begun. And what I find is that the very best short stories have a twist at the end - this was the case with the volume of short stories that helped me to relinquish my belief that I hated short stories, The closed door and other stories, by Dorothy Whipple - and this was the case in many of the stories in this volume. And this was recognised by another one of my blogging friends, Hayley from Desperate Reader, who described herself as being "bowled over" by it when she wrote about it (I have to admit that it was Hayley's post which led to me buying it from Amazon even though I was trying to cut down on internet purchases).
My favourite story was the title story, The blush, which had an excellent twist at the end, as long as one had been reading fairly carefully. But I also enjoyed the story Summer School, about two sisters who spent their summer holidays in very different ways, neither of whom hugely satisfied by their experiences and differently prepared to admit it. There was also a poignant story about a couple on their wedding night, staying in a hotel. She goes off and gets herself ready; he is nervous and goes and gets drunk in the bar. The twist at the end is really uncomfortable; I am sure my wedding night will not be like that!
My collection of green Elizabeth Taylor novels is growing delightfully, and I'm looking forward to doing a post to show them when I have a full set (ok, that may be some time since I have been exercising restrain in my book purchasing of late) - as I don't think I'll blog about them individually having read them over 2 years ago now.