When I took on the Back to the Classics Challenge 2016, I was very worried about the Classic Short Story Challenge. I’m not a fan of short stories in general, and, as a new person to classics, didn’t have much knowledge of classic short stories. Dubliners was the only volume that I knew of and that was on my TBR. My grandmother gave me horror stories about James Joyce’s writing. My mother just groaned in pain. People on Goodreads have horror stories about reading James Joyce. I was afraid. Very, very afraid.
It started a bit rough. I immediately didn’t know if I understood the first story. It ended so abruptly. Was I correct in thinking that the priest was a bit shady? The second story didn’t fare much better. I was feeling stupid so I put it aside for about a month.
I have the Penguin English Library softcover edition. One day I picked it up off my nightstand and read the synopsis on the back. There it tell me that each story marks “a moment of epiphany for the characters”. Ah. From that moment on almost all of the stories at least made sense to me.
I actually enjoyed “The Boarding House”. It reminded me of the historical romances that I still love. What a scheming minx! “A Painful Case” made me think of regrets in life. There were a few where men just kept going on about politics or religion and they were a complete bore. “Counterparts” was like looking into the mind of a boorish drunk. That was not fun.
Overall, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this! It wasn’t nearly as awful as everyone predicted it to be. Wait for it… This may be my favorite book of short stories. Shocking.