This story is about a Miss Coral, a Chinese Principal/Director of an English Language School in China who hires a British teacher with a different attitude to hers and that of her country. This indeed shapes the story and theme and set the story up for its shocking and quick ending. I loved the character of Miss Coral, her manners and ethics and was devastated at the way the british teacher acted though he acted correctly for his own country.
This story captured me from start to end. The narrative style is perfect and the characters are perfectly brought to life. Anna Metcalfe is a relative newcomer and is working on her first short story anthology.
She was inspired to write the story, she said, after spending a year in China working for the British Council, “which sparked off a lot of ideas about cultural exchange and the different degrees of success with which different people are able to translate themselves for others and for different kinds of cultural environments”.
The fifth short story is Snowblind by Elizabeth Strout. A story that is set in the USA, it tells the modern fairytale of a story of a family, father, mother and children over a long period of time. I loved this story a lot. It includes many of the fairytale elements I enjoy like the setting of the forest, the character of the goose girl aka Annie Appleby, the wise, old Grandmother and the negative parents and magic. It’s about the way we remember our childhood and how different it actually might look when we are an adult. Poor Annie has some revelations to deal with by the end.
The Shoeking of Shanghai by Jonathan Tel
I didn’t like this story very much, it is a dreadfully smart story in that the narrative technique is a bit quirky but that jumping style put me and my tired, reading at night brain right off. This story is about a migrant who steals a pair of shoes and tries to sell them off except the long, long, long sentences with lots of commas and no full stops prevented me from enjoying this. I am sorry. You’ve got one chance and if I like you, Mr.Short Story, I may read you again.
The winner will be announced on April 4th. My favourites were all but one, The Shoeking of Shanghai. Therefore, I predict that it will win! The two that deserve to win are Nirvana and Number Three.