…a short story I’ve just read by A.M. Homes, called The Chinese Lesson. It’s available to read for free on the Granta website, at the moment, because she’s just won The Women’s Prize with her novel, May We Be Forgiven.
This short story was the precursor of that novel, so for those of you who are not generally tempted by the short form, reading it might provide an useful taster. For the rest of us, don’t be put off by the idea that I’m recommending an excerpt. This is a beautifully told story, nicely balanced and elegantly written.
I read it yesterday, and the essence of it is still with me, despite an afternoon out with friends and some mundane jobs in between. Am I tempted to get hold of the novel, now? Well, yes, even though it would have to join a long queue of outstanding reading.
In an interview on the Granta site, Homes says that she uses short stories to begin working out ideas for her novels. It seems to me that thinking about short stories in this way could be a useful addition to my arsenal of answers to that eternal question, ‘So, what is a short story?’