Short stories are a quick way to break up or change the pace of your reading. Or I’ve found that this week in particular short stories have been great when I didn’t have extended blocks of time for reading. The story I read today I found in a collection of stories called The Beacon Best of 1999: Creative Writing by Women and Men of All Colors. This collection is edited by Ntozake Shange, whom I really enjoy.
The first story I read was The Sun, The Moon, The Stars by Junot Diaz. Junior is a Dominican-American man who through a hasty indiscretion with another woman is now having troubles with his girlfriend Magda. The thing is he didn’t even tell her about it because he thought it was over but Cassandra has written a very detailed letter telling Magda all about their escapades. Junior tells us that the affair happened when he and Magda weren’t doing so well in their relationship but had since improved. After this rough patch things were great between the two, they visited each other often going out on dates and visiting their parents. He thought things had blown over but he was wrong. The story is about Junior’s efforts to patch his relationship with Magda, whom he says is really the one for him.
I liked Diaz’ writing style, it felt like Junior was telling me the story like I might have known him. His descriptions of his side of the story were not really heart warming or meant to illicit sympathy but seemed to come from a person who understood that a mistake had been made.
Diaz received the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for the novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I haven’t read this one but it is on my list.