Sunday, April 8, 2007

Today's Short Story by Sheila Kaye-Smith

The story I chose today is A Day In A Woman's Life by Sheila Kaye-Smith. One of the benefits of this little short story scheme is discovering new authors from earlier times. This woman was very famous, and maybe still is in some circles, but I had never heard of her. There is a Sheila Kaye-Smith Society which was formed twenty years ago "to stimulate and widen interest in her work." She co-authored a book on Jane Austen. Her books and stories are set in her home area of Sussex, England. A little sidenote I found online is that members of the band I enjoy, Keane, used to live in the same town as she did. As I searched the internet, I saw articles and stories in Time and Harper's. In fact, this story first appeared in Harper's in January, 1923. How do these writers get lost? How do we bring them back to the attention of today's readers? If I ran a library or owned a bookstore, this would be my campaign. I would be always on the search for writers who aren't read anymore.

This story is sixteen pages long, and is in a Modern Library Anthology of Famous British Stories. It is divided into morning, afternoon, and evening. For the most part this story is the inner ruminations of a woman's mind. A boyfriend hasn't been in touch about a scheduled lunchtime meeting. It brings up all the other instances when she has felt mistreated by him. He says he "can't" marry her. She has already forgiven him once for unfaithfulness. She is always making excuses for his neglectful behavior. She decides to drive over to meet him, and on the way makes up her mind (mostly) that she is going to break it off. The woman is annoying in her dependence on his every action, but it didn't really seem dated, because this is much of what we read in modern fiction or see on television or movies or hear in songs: should I stay or should I go? Good story which really takes the reader into the woman's heart and mind.


  1. Here's a comment, Nan ;)
    I'm still a bit ambivalent about seeking out her fiction, but you've made me less ambivalent!

    1. I laughed right out when I read this!
      I'd actually like to read more, and will try to find some. I'd sorta forgotten about her until I read your piece.


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