Short Story – The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe

thecaskofamontilladoThe Cask of Amontillado is a gothic short story written by Edgar Allan Poe. He was one of my favorite authors growing up. I just love the way he writes.

The story is direct to the point. Montressor, the narrator was insulted by Fortunato and so he vows for revenge. It seems normal at first but as the story progresses, it gets darker.

We never really got to learn Montressor’s purpose/reason for carrying out the revenge on Fortunato but maybe that’s not really the point in the story. Well, I dunno.

What I know is that Fortunato was buried behind a wall and  Edgar Allan Poe knows revenge at its worst and moreover, a mystery is yet to be solved.

Quotable Quotes:

“A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.”

“It must be understood, that neither by word nor deed had I given Fortunato cause to doubt my good will.”

“The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.”

Rating: 4/5 stars

 

 

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

the old man and the seaThe Old Man and the Sea won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954 and was the last major work of Ernest Hemingway. It’s a brutally simple story about an old Cuban fisherman named Santiago who is alone in life and his only friend is Manolin, a boy who used to fish with him before but because of a series of bad luck including not catching anything for 84 days, was soon told by his parents to go with other fishermen instead.

On the 85th day though, Santiago sailed further out than the other fishermen and was able to hook a giant marlin who happened to pull him farther away in the sea. What happened next? Where did the fish pull him to? Was he able to bring it home? Did he really hook the fish or was it the fish that hooked him? Was he able to change his luck?

This might not sound much of a plot for most people but I think it’s a good read. I found it an engaging story about an old man and his relationship with nature, an old man with nothing left to lose, an old man that has faith in himself, an old man who never backs away from his goal whatever it takes.

The ending was quite sad but moving. I felt really sad for Santiago but he was not at all sad for himself. Though he was totally drained in the end, he was still very optimistic  while talking with Manolin which reflects what he said earlier in the book, “A man can be destroyed but never defeated.”

Quotable Quotes:

“Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.”

“Let him think that I am more man than I am and I will be so.”

“Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.”

“Why do old men wake so early? Is it to have one longer day?”

Rating : 4/5 stars

Things – A Short Story by Ali Al Sabah

     She was horrified when she knew that her husband wanted to get rid of everything useless and anything that no longer bring him happiness. Returning home on Thursday noon after quitting his job, he locked himself in the bedroom and emptied all the cabinets and drawers.
     He found a large amount of clothes that no longer fit him and some which he haven’t used for more than a year. Along with these clothes was his gown and cap. He discovered electronic devices dating way back to his childhood years; old phones and computers that already ceased to function. A stack of textbooks and an oud instrument. He found papers dating back to high school, some of which with Tupac’s song lyrics and some with scribbles he could no longer understand. A photo album of his travels captured by an instant camera. A collection of pirated CDs for songs and movies. A ceramic cup that reveals a picture of himself when poured with hot beverage, a birthday gift from a distant time. He found a Samsonite travel bag which he decided to keep unable to remember the last time he used it along with four others. An old copy of the family tree with some handwritten notes. A collection of coins from several countries. An old wallet and an expired passport. Accumulated receipts.
      As the sun sets that day, a pile of bags was amassed on the doorway. With The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho in hand to reread for the second time, he walked to the nearby Starbucks enjoying a feeling of lightness.
    On Friday morning, he gathered a number of watches, sunglasses, lighters and perfume bottles in a box. He went to the kitchen where he found lots of unused cooking equipment, utensils, and expired foods; mustard, pasta sauce, and an instant coffee. He continued circling the house in search of what else could be disposed. He also decided to break off from the long hours spent watching television and videos online. Getting rid of those things created a vast space in his brain that used to be crammed with chaos and was permanently bewildering him. The cloud of thoughts that had been haunting him almost daily for several years vanished. He prepared a quick lunch and then went back to Starbucks to continue reading the novel.
     He woke up early on Saturday and went for a run in the beach. When he returned home, he cooked the available food left for his lunch. He again went to Starbucks to read the book and left it there when he finished. Soon he’s back home and he took out the clothes he wanted to wear the following day.
     Morning came and he put on the clothes as soon as he woke up then headed to the airport.
~~~
This  is just one among the several short stories Ali Al-Sabah has written and I’m delighted to finally be able to read one because he generally writes in Arabic. So for my readers who are interested to read more of his works, click here
I’d be glad to know your thoughts about the story so feel free to drop a line or two in the comments. 
Have a wonderful week, homo sapiens!

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

Book #20. I just had to read it because it’s Gillian Flynn!

This is a short story with all the usual thrill present in Ms. Flynn’s books. It’s a story about an unnamed narrator who was first a beggar, then a “therapist” who gives a hand job to customers behind a psychic’s shop. She later became a palm reader or spiritual healer of some sort because she likes reading and she makes use of what she reads wisely to survive.

Though this is very short, it is very engaging. It definitely shows how the author’s imagination can go beyond her most popular novel, Gone Girl. It makes me want more!

Quotable Quotes:

“But I wasn’t a well-read bookworm; I was just a dumb whore in the right library.”

“People are dumb. I’ll never get over how dumb people are.”

Rating : 4/5