Monday, April 27, 2009

In the Miro District : Peter Taylor

Peter Taylor AKA - Peter Matthew Hillsman Taylor

January 8, 1917 – November 2, 1994

Finally, Solotaroff brings us back to America! In America...but in a Southern State!

Those intellectual New York types...Tennessee and Europe, some sort of far away exotic land. –Right-?

Must an author create a story that is a completely foreign land for the reader to be fully engrossed in it? Is it a cheap trick to pull us in with the unknown? Surely, many readers of BASS in the late 70’s knew of the South, knew of Europe.

Taylor does a wonderful job of bringing the South to the page. It was a long slow read. Beautiful, rich descriptions, southern atmosphere dripping from each page. At times though, I found that certain emphasis on repeating certain points was a bit much.

“A bit much” ...then again the South is just that sometimes.

The story-

A battle between the generations. It’s the easy theme in this short story ( not that is a New Yorker piece).

Testing limits, coming of age, understanding, failure to understand, conflict, tradition, ignorance, hypocrisy, love, morality, strength and weakness.

Finally, and what should be taken as the most important theme, shock and struggle, the transformation of a person that once was something we never knew into something that we knew was always there.

We have all been in the position where we are hiding a girl in the wardrobe. I loved this scene. The discovery of that girl and the transformation of the individual doing the hiding, as well as the change which takes place in the person who makes the discovery.

Sometimes, hiding that girl is the right thing to do. It protects loved ones. And then, when you feel the time is right, you invite them into the room to open the wardrobe and make the discovery themselves...for both of you.

With my own father in the state that he is in and what he is turning into, I often wonder if there will be a point where I don’t recognize him. He doesn’t have the ability to control the girl in the wardrobe.

I am finding that one of the most interesting aspects of writing in this journal is the research that I am doing on the authors of each of these stories. Because I am starting in ’78, some of the authors that I am learning of are either just beginning their career as a writer or have a bit of a background. It’s wonderful.

Props again to Solotaroff for including Taylor in this volume.

Peter Taylor considered on of the finest American Short Story writers. Pulitzer prize winner for fiction in 1987. Long relationship with the New Yorker. In 1979, he received the Gold Medal for the short story genre given by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Nine of his short stories were published in BASS. I can’t wait to discover the others.

Score 8 out of 10

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