Wednesday, May 05, 2010

What is Laura Furman reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Laura Furman, series editor of The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, and author of the forthcoming collection of stories, The Mother Who Stayed.

Her entry begins:
This spring semester, I'm teaching at the Sorbonne, Paris 3, and my students and I are reading "The Turn of the Screw" by Henry James. Though I very much like the long-story form, I hadn't read "The Turn of the Screw" for a long time and remembered it vaguely. It was a pleasure to read and fun to try to figure out its twists and turns.

James differentiated between a short story and a tale--a work too long to be a story and too short to be a novel--and one of the rich things about "The Turn of the Screw" is its form: It's the written testimony of the nameless governess who, when she was very young, was in charge of two beautiful orphans and failed them in almost every way possible. The manuscript has come to Douglas, now middle-aged, possibly in love with the governess in his youth. He, in turn, is introduced to the reader by a narrator who sets the scene for the reading of the governess's testimony, and who gives the reader the necessary background for us to understand the governess's motivations and character. The...[read on]
Learn more about Laura Furman and The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories.

Writers Read: Laura Furman.

--Marshal Zeringue