A welcome online fiction showcase has been launched by Harper Perennial, as reported by 3:AM. Curated by Cal Morgan, Fifty-Two Stories will publish new work every week this year by both established and emerging writers of the form.
The series got off to an auspicious start with its first offering. Simon Van Booy's 'The Missing Statues' has a classic storytelling set-up: two strangers meet and fall into conversation about events from another time and place that are somehow connected to the here and now. One of them tries to comfort the other, saying: “I simply want to know why a missing statue has reduced a young American businessman to tears.”
Like the statues of the title, everything in the story is at one remove from reality: the narrator speaks of Venice, but only as it is reimagined in Las Vegas. His tale involves a man who pretends to be an Italian gondolier, mimes the voice of Enrico Caruso and recognises his own daughter in a woman whose small child he befriends.
British-born Van Booy's writing is highly coloured and romantic, but manages to skirt sentimentality. There is real feeling behind these facades, these masks and wishful imaginings.
The story is taken from a forthcoming collection called Love Begins in Winter, which is published in the US in May, and in the UK in November. It should be worth investigating, as should the rest of Cal Morgan's choices for Fifty-Two Stories this year.
- ▼ 2009 (14)