Monday, February 8, 2010

"Factory" and "Aunt Charlotte and the NGA Painting" --the count down continues

Thirty days left. I'm still not even done reading Instead of Three Wishes. This could be bad. Or it could not. I read novels much faster. Besides, how could I possibly say that getting closer to March 10th is bad? I'll swing by the library tomorrow and pick up The Thief.

That said, I am officially charmed by Turner's short stories, not that I wasn't before but the last two ---"Factory" and "Aunt Charlotte and the NGA Painting" --were just so . . . whimsical I think would work. Perfect. I don't know if I could break it down any more than that. As I know I've said before the art of a short story is one of those I must admire from afar.
"Factory" was simply sweet in its ending and the whole ideal atmosphere of the ghost house. It made me want to stay in an attic all day and read books and eat chocolate. One of those kinds of stories.
"Aunt Charlotte and the NGA Painting" was a little more complex but equally atmospheric in a . . . I can only use the word Whimsical again -way. Magical paintings, Venice, harlequins, kids in funny hats . . .
Both stories were simple and innocent, but not 'kid-y" --not that there's anything wrong with something a little 'kid-y' now and again, but the mythology etc. to back up the stories was sophisticated. They both had Megan Whelan Turner's famous surprise endings --the ones that are completely unexpected, but then when you look back at the rest of the story make perfect sense and you can see that she was leading you towards it all the time.
The one thing I noticed about these stories, and why I decided to write about them both together instead of separately, is the themes are almost conflicting. Not quite but almost. "Factory" is about preserving something exactly the way it is forever and "Aunt Charlotte and the NGA Painting", though I wouldn't call it a story only about change, has a passage where Charlotte is given the opportunity to do just that --stay in an Ideal painting for the rest of her life but chooses to grow up and solve puzzles instead. It is just interesting to me to see the same author's take on the same theme in two completely different ways.

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