simpson.diary.of.an.interesting.yearThe latest New Yorker published Helen Simpson’s story, Diary of an Interesting Year. A rather typical apocalypse story, geographically centering on London, England. Nothing new in terms of conception: it is just part of the environmental focus of the whole magazine issue, echoing the ongoing Copenhagen Conference. What interests me is the story’s terse conversational language. At the risk of being accused of sexism, or “reverse sexism”, I would point out that women authors tend to use less pompous and livelier language. Here is an example from this story:

       We met a pig this morning. It was a bit thin for a pig, and it didn’t look well. G. said, “Quick! We’ve got to kill it.”

       “Why?” I said, “How?”

       “With a knife,” he said. “Bacon. Sausages.”

As a male reader, another thing I find extraordinarily rewarding when reading first-person stories by a woman writer, is the opportunity to indulge myself in the feminine psyche. That’s probably one of the many reasons why I love Jane Austen so much.

Three other woman writers I would like to talk about in the near future is: Alice Munro and her new collection, Too Much Happiness; Beatrix Beck and her French Resistance novel I read recently, Morin, the Priest (translated as The Passionate Heart) ; and Marjorie Rawlings and my childhood favorite, The Yearlings.

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