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Old 12-12-2016, 06:23 PM   #10
AnotherCat
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I sat down and read this story last night. To start off I am not a fan of short stories and have not read one for decades. However, I appreciate being pointed to this one, even if I don't read another for decades more :-).

I won't say much about the meanings I drew from it as I think like any story that is not explicit one can read many things into it and those in different ways. As far as this short story is concerned one could probably write a longer account of what meanings there are, or could be, in it than the story itself is long. And it could become book length, or at least novelette length :-), if one incorporated the interpretations of meaning of several readers.

For example, with respect to bfisher's wine into water comment regarding the passage

This time the Brothers and Sisters knew that what they were given to drink was not wine, for it sparkled. It must be some kind of lemonade. The lemonade agreed with their exalted state of mind and seemed to lift them off the ground, into a higher and purer sphere.

I wondered about wine into water but in the end I thought for my own selfish pleasure that what they were drinking was perhaps ("perhaps" because who knows what it was, it is not stated) champagne brought from France with Babbette's other food goodies. It would agree with my own selfish reading of with their exalted state of mind and seemed to lift them off the ground, into a higher and purer sphere as inferring that they were already getting a bit tipsy with exalted state of mind and floating (floating often attributed as being a champagne drinker's symptom). I say inferring because I can think of other interpretations not yet said.

Not trying to disagree with anyone here, just claiming that there is much room for one to make ones own interpretations and reinterpretations of meaning, and one interpretation can be as good as another. For some readers that is fine, but for me I often have a sneaking feeling that the author may just as well have outlined the plot and then said make up your own story within that giving it the meaning you want. Nasty piece of work aren't I , and I have to say I do make my own stories in my own head and can guarantee that they carry the exact meaning that I want, am just poor on plots :-) .

The tone of the story struck me as having a Scandinavian tint beyond just the mention of the geography. I found some sentences read as statements, sometimes almost perfunctory but I would not like to decide for myself if this was on purpose to contribute to the tone of the prose or whether it was a characteristic of the author's first language not being English (I am assuming Danish was her first, and I would not compare her abilities to the likes of Conrad who wrote in his second language, for example).

But sentences seeming to be statement like, almost perfunctory, did strike me as being perhaps inherited from her Scandinavian background (I have spent time in Denmark and Sweden, worked with a lot of Scandinavians, and also as close friends; also one of my grandfathers was half Norwegian and I think he inherited some of the same).

Thanks for the pointer to the story, it was worth a read and proved to be a very pleasant interlude and counter to my current dismal reading of another biography of that nasty natured man Karl Marx.

Last edited by AnotherCat; 12-12-2016 at 06:27 PM.
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