Thursday, July 5, 2012

Today's short story - War Memorial by Elisabeth Grace Foley

I found myself thinking this morning that ebooks are a little like the magazines of the past which used to include short fiction within their pages. The reader is able to buy one short story for under a dollar, and get to know a new author. War Memorial is a wonderful story that would have easily been accepted by the magazines of yore, probably for the July 4 issue, or the November 11 issue.

This is a story of how meeting 'the enemy' face-to-face changes a person's view on war. In this case it isn't soldiers, but a soldier and a sixteen-year-old young woman in 1863 just before and after the battle of Gettysburg. The story begins in 1946 with the Darrell family sitting around listening to the radio on a rainy day when the power goes off. While bustling around looking for matches and candles, one of the children opens an old box on top of the piano. Inside are tucked away mementos, and at the very bottom is 'a small lump of some dull gray metal, of a vaguely recognizable shape, heavy for its size.'

When Matthew asks what it is, his father Paul tells him

"That's a bullet from the Civil War. That was taken out of a Confederate soldier after the battle of Gettysburg."
"How do you know?" asked Matthew somewhat suspiciously, viewing the lump of lead with eight-year-old skepticism. …
"I know," said Paul, smiling a little as he tossed the bullet gently on his palm, testing its familiar weight. "You see, this was my grandmother's most prized possession."

Well, that certainly gets the family's and the reader's attention. Soon the short story goes back to that long ago year, and we learn the remarkable truth behind this bullet.

War Memorial ends with the children going up to bed
… in the dark, with the warmth of the past close around them.
So beautiful. I dearly loved this story, and went looking for more by the author. I bought Elisabeth Grace Foley's collection called The Ranch Next Door and Other Stories. It is available for the Nook and Kindle, and is also in paperback.

War Memorial is, as far as I know, available only on the Kindle. It was published in 2012.

You may have seen the author's blog under my 'Bookish' blog list on the sidebar. It is called The Second Sentence.

8 comments:

  1. An author I am unfamiliar with, Nan, and should look into. Isn't that a wonderful thought - that technology can revive short stories in a different way than we remember them from magazines, but back just the same. A wonderful post. Now, I need to click onto Ms. Foley's blog. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you. The author seems a wonderful person, and she's such a good writer!

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  2. I don't know this author either and now I want to. ... Your remark about magazines that included short fiction has me thinking about all the publications that we subscribed to back in the day; how we looked forward to the latest issue and to catching up if we got behind on our reading. For me nowadays following my favorite blogs feels a little like that....today, catching up with "Letters from Hill Farm" after I've been away for a while was pure pleasure!

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    1. That's a really interesting thing, and I agree. Reading blogs is wonderful. And thank you for your nice words. I'm quite sure you will like this story.

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  3. This sounds like a lovely story. I just checked on Limited Time Offers and it's being sold for 99 cents on Kindle.

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    1. That's what I paid, and it is so worth it. I really enjoyed it.

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  4. That sounds really good. I never thought of ebooks that way, but you're right. They are like the fiction pieces in the old magazines. Thanks for your review.~~Dee

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    1. She's a very good writer, with a lot of warmth and heart.

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