Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Short Story Wednesday: William Maxwelll, ALL THE DAYS AND NIGHTS, collected stories


I think if it weren't for Short Story Wednesdays, books like this would have been donated to the library long ago. But because I need to draw on ss collections, this remains on my shelf. Maxwell was a novelist and ss writer as well as an editor for THE NEW YORKER. I have read stories from this collection for this project in the past. I wonder if a young reader would enjoy these stories as much as I do. Perhaps their style and subject is dated. I am not sure.

This time out I read two stories, both written toward the end of Maxwell's career. "The Holy Terror" is about two brothers in their boyhood. The older one loses part of a leg, needlessly it turns out, and the story discusses their relationship and how this loss had a huge impact on the family, despite the brother's fortitude in getting on with his life. "What He Was Like" is the story of man who keeps a journal for years and what happens to that book after his death. It's a chilling short tale. 

Maxwell wrote two of my favorite novels too. TIME WILL DARKEN IT and SO LONG, SEE YOU TOMORROW. For me, he's a very readable, enjoyable writer. 

George Kelley


Jerry House 

Casual Debris


Todd Mason said...

As an aging reader, I'm glad you retained this one, and continue to enjoy it...I might need to Go Look at one of his collections, as I've yet to read more than a story or three in anthologies and the like, and none of his novels.

Some notes about those I've dipped into more recently coming in an hour or two, barring the flood or sudden nap.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Maxwell is one of those writers I'm always meaning to read, but haven't gotten around to, other than a story or two. I should probably pick up one of his collections.

I finished one of the Peter Tremayne collections and will finish the other today. In the second, the non-Sister Fidelma collection - AN ENSUING EVIL and Others - there are four Sherlock Holmes stories. Tremayne is Irish, of course, so plays up that Holmes and his brother Mycroft are from an Anglo Irish family. These stories are mostly set in Dublin. I've read a lot of non-Canonical Holmes stories over the years - though only a fraction of what George has read - including Bill Crider's. I'm far from an expert but I know what I like. For whatever reason, it could be "Watson"'s narration or something else, Tremayne's Holmes stories just leave me cold. They're readable, certainly, but...something is missing.

Compare them with the Sister Fidelma tales, set in 7th Century Ireland. He created an entire, rich world. You know who Fidelma is, a very self-confident person, a lawyer, the sister of a King, a woman who doesn't suffer fools gladly, someone who takes no crap from men who think they can tell her what to do. She knows the law, and she can pick her way through stories and alibis to the truth. The Holmes stories just lie there.

pattinase (abbott) said...

If you read only one thing by Maxwell, I would read TIME WILL DARKEN IT.
I have read nothing by Tremayne. Funny how many series I have never gotten to. At this point, any series seems off-limits. I stick to the standalones.

Casual Debris said...

I have one for this week:

George said...

I've read a couple of Maxwell's books and agree he is a very readable, enjoyable writer.

Like Jeff, I'm a fan of the Sister Fidelma mysteries. I haven't read the last few Tremayne in any order and it really hasn't made much of a difference as the series basically consists of stand-alone mysteries but feature the clever Sister Fidelma.

TracyK said...

After you mentioned William Maxwell sometime earlier on your blog, I bought two of his books at the annual book sale (in 2022). I have read them yet but both sound good. Now I will have to look into his short stories.

Now I am getting interested in the Sister Fidelma mysteries, but I am not sure I can pick up another author right now.

Margot Kinberg said...

This sounds intriguing,Patti. I haven't heard of this collection before, but it sounds good.