Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ed Park on Stories about Stories

On the L.A. Times Web site, in the first of two installments, Ed Park declaims on short stories included in two collections. The headline is: "The Glorious, Oft-Overlooked, Short Story." (Not sure about that second comma.) The two stories are "On Skua Island," by John Langan, from Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters (Prime) and "Biographical Notes to 'A Discourse on the Nature of Causality, with Air-Planes,' by Benjamin Rosenbaum," by Benjamin Rosenbaum from The Aunt King and Other Stories (Small Beer Press). Langan's book is scheduled to be published later this month. Rosenbaum's book is available as a free download or in book form.

The focus of Park's column is stories about stories. As he says:
What connects them is their playful interrogation -- sometimes subtle, sometimes glaring -- of the short story form. They jolt us into fresh ways of reading.
Focusing in detail on a particular story is an original and interesting approach to discussing a collection, and I think it works very well. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait another month for part II, because this appears in a monthly column, called Astral Weeks, that Park writes for the L.A. Times site. He is, by the way, one of the editors of the eclectic, snark-free monthly magazine The Believer and the author of a workplace novel, Personal Days.