I don’t like short stories as I always am longing for more. Short stories only provide a small glimpse into the character’s existences. They usually lack a conclusion. Regardless of my short story frustrations and biases, Nell Freudenberge is a good writer who creates solid, absorbing characters. My two favorite stories were ‘The Tutor’ and ‘The Orphan.’
In ‘The Tutor’ a young American girl living with her father in India hires Zubin, a tutor. Freudenberge beautifully illustrates the reason for the girl's turmoil as well as the inner conflicts of Zubin. This story has a non-ending, but fits in with the overall style of the book, where we are only allowed to view a part of the characters lives and even then there is no final resolution to the part that we view.
'The Orphan' is the story for which I left craving for a complete book. Alice and Jeff a middle-aged couple have decided to divorce. They need to inform their children of this life altering choice. When the family unites there is an extreme awkwardness which I wanted the author to unravel further. Additionally, at the very start of the story, Mandy calls her mother to let her know that she has been sexually and physically assaulted by her boyfriend. During Alice, Jeff’s and her brother’s visit, Mandy introduces the boyfriend that sexually and physically assaulted her. This story was gripping and all the characters were multi-faceted. I would be very curious to read how Freudenberge would continue this story if it was turned into a novel.
Even if you are like me and do not gravitate or particularly enjoy short short stories I hope you will give Freudenberge a try as again, she is a strong, interesting writer.