I have one last short story post left and since I was feeling under the weather at the weekend I have extended ‘short story week’ to two weeks (ironic really, elongating it) Although in my last post I said this was a possibility too! I had such fun doing something a tad different!
I am rather excited for this next short story review. I bought this book in January when I went to New York and I have waited for the right moment to start reviewing the stories from ‘The O.Henry Prize Stories 2016′. There are 22 (or more if you count the extra bits and pieces) short stories but for this review, I have chosen the very first story in the book. ‘Irises’ by Elizabeth Genovise is a captivating read with an unusual take on a ‘love story’. The story is told by the unborn foetus still in the womb. It follows the story of her mother and her lover fleeing from their former life to new pastures. But, will they decide to keep the unborn child? It was unusual as although the story was so short, the characters were so imaginative I felt like I had read a full-length novel rather than just 12 pages.
Guessing her impending fate, the foetus tells the story from a ‘bird’s-eye’ view. She watches her mother and describes her hopes, dreams, pain and reasons for leaving her husband. The new lover, Joaquin is described as not as a knight in shining armour, but the yin to the mothers yang. The music to a dance. The man she fell in love with… The foetus tells the story of how they met, how they came to be, which is incredibly romantic. The poetic way in which the story is told makes it so outstanding. An innovative and interesting take on narrating a story. Definitely not ‘sickly-sweet’ at all.
I don’t want to spoil the end so like my other short story reviews, it will be a bit shorter. Brilliant if you only have a few mins to take a look! Equally, this is also fabulous about this story- its short. But although small in length, it’s a ‘deep thinker’. I like books which make you surpass a level of thought into a more meaningful place. I did a little research on bits and bobs on the title of the book which led me to the goddess Iris. The title becomes clearer at the end of the novel but I did find it interesting to look up some symbolism… ‘communication’, ‘the messenger’, and ‘defined by their role in life’ are themes which the foetus represents. There were lots of myths and legends about irises which also peaked my curiosity.
I could be reading more into this than there is but I feel as if this short story, as a plot and a way of writing, is truly remarkable. Praise for the author, I was really surprised that such a short story could be so thought-provoking. The style of writing is effortlessly beautiful; poetic, graceful and elegant. There are so many themes and relationships in the story and I could spend hours analysing them but it may spoil the plot so I won’t! 😉 So much drama and emotion expressed in only 12 short pages… amazing.
I would recommend to anyone who loves reading short stories, wants to explore more deeper symbols in books and loves the themes of love, loss and tragedy.
Hope you enjoyed this review! Happy reading! Lx