Daily Archives: December 10, 2013

Book Review: Division Street by Helen Mort

Division Street by Helen Mort Title: Division Street
Author: Helen Mort
Publisher: Chatto & Windus
ISBN: 9780701186845
Genre: Poetry
Pages: 80
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

Poetry is not everyone’s cup of tea. No author can claim to just get up and be a poet one fine day. There are poets that have been going on and there are some who surface and leave a mark like no other. On the other hand, there are also some who you may have never heard of and they lure you in with their words and emotions and you have no choice left, but to stay. For me this year, Helen Mort has been a discovery and I will in all probability go back to what she writes or has written and savor every single word of her well-spun poems.

“Division Street” is her latest collection of poems which is centred on the clash between striking miners and police to the conflict in personal relationships. She writes after a street in Sheffield, bringing to fore the site of conflict and how humans behave and react in times such as these. “Division Street” is just reflective of human nature. The incident could have taken place anywhere in the world and the emotions surging through would still be the same. That is what the power of good writing is – its universal appeal.

I am not a poetry fan and yet I found myself rereading most of these poems. It was difficult initially to get into the read however as I started liking the poems, it was a cake walk of a task. Poetry needs structure, just as much as prose and sometimes even more so. Mort manages to beautifully bring out the delicate elements of the poems and infuse it with reality. I loved this collection and most certainly will get back to it sometime next year. A must read for people who love poetry with an edge of its own.

387 Days of Short Stories: Story 1: Day 1: The Bear Came Over the Mountain by Alice Munro

The Bear Came Over the Mountain
Alice Munro
Taken from the collection: Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Stories

I had read this story earlier. I do not remember when, but I remembered the story as I started reading it again with the start of this project. Why did I choose this one as the first story? Because I wanted this entire experience to be memorable and only a story by Alice Munro for a start, could ensure that.

“The Bear Came over the Mountain” according to me is the best story she has ever written. That is just my opinion though. There is Grant – the husband. There is Fiona – the wife. There is also memory – instrumental to the entire story. Fiona is losing her memory. There is no indication that she is suffering from Alzheimer’s. There is this tact with which Munro presents the condition of her characters. She has to be put in a care centre. Grant is aware. Grant has been infidel in the past. Fiona is aware. Now perhaps she remembers or she doesn’t. At Meadowlake, Fiona meets someone new and forgets she ever had a husband. That and more is the crux of this heartbreakingly beautiful short story.

Alice Munro’s style is just hers. I don’t think anyone can either match or copy it at any point. Her stories brim with irony, angst and above all they are just real – they remind you of you at some point. Her characters are dealing and going through life as you and I – they just do not know how to deal with situations, again like you and I. They struggle through emotions, the awkwardness, trying to fill gaps, silences, and want to know what love or essence of it all is.

“The Bear Came over the Mountain” moves you, intimidates you and above all makes you want to reach out to the ones you love and if any author is capable of doing that, then you must read her, again and again and perhaps again.

You can read the story here: http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/features/2013/10/21/131021fi_fiction_munro

387 Days of the Short Story

The short story has always been essential to me. All the time. There is nothing more important to me in the form of literature than the short story. To me, the short story and its methods are sacrosanct. The way it can communicate everything in a couple of pages fascinates me no end.

A short story is a world in itself most of the time, and I want to explore that world. I embark on reading a short story every day starting today and that including this month and the whole of next year makes it 387 days of the Short Story.

The idea is to pick up a short story and a new author every single day, no matter how long or short the story is and then to talk about it. This is open to whosoever, anyone can participate in this. Just would have to send me an email at the end of the day with the story you read and what did you think about it. More so, you cannot skip a single day.

Let me know if you would like to be a part of it. I start today anyway, with one of my most favourite stories, “The Bear Came Over the Mountain” by Alice Munro.