My mistress’s sparrow is dead: great love stories from Chekhov to Munro


I like the way Eugenides writes. I read in a fervent way his first novel The virgin suicides in my second year of uni, and was more than pleased by it and the writing of this author. On my goodread.com list you can easily find The Marriage Plot and Middlesex written by the same author, but recently I chose to read, instead of those novels, this collection which sums up some short stories and novellas of different authors, all gathered in this form by Eugenides. The major theme is that of love, and even if Eugenides, in the beginning of this collection, explains the chosing he had made, I was somehow left confused and disappointed…

Had Jeffrey Eugenides been a woman, a different kind of „great love stories” would have been added in this collection…I’m thinking this might be a man’s perspective upon love as there was no love story that I, as a woman, could have related to! Or wished! Or maybe love is felt and seen differently from the angle of a more mature age.

All of the authors with love short stories in this collection are: Harold Brodkey, Anton Checkhov, Grace Paley, William Faulkner, James Joyce, Denis Johnson, David Bezmozgis, Deborah Eisenberg, Milan Kundera, William Trevor, Guy de Maupassant, Gilbert Sorrentino, Vladimir Nabokov, Loorie Moore, Mary Robinson, David Gates, Isaac Babel, Robert Musil, George Saunders, Eileen Chang, Richard Ford, Stuart Dybek, Miranda July, Bernard Malamud, Raymond Carver, Harold Brodkey and Alice Munro.

The stories that I liked or remembered ideas and events from them, after finishing the entire collection were:

The dead by James Joyce: this was my third reading of this short story. I wrote here a post about some of the books I read twice. I forgot to put Joyce’s The Dubliners there. It seems that I forgot it for a reason as I read this one in particular for the 3rd time.

Natasha by David Bezmozgis: a story of a little Russian teenage-girl emigrated in Canada. Reminded me of Lolita, but I liked this character more. A story full of underage sex!

Mouche by Guy de Maupassant: a very, very short story but long enough to speak about the human condition at that time, the hypocrisy of men, all of them in a funny way.

How to be an other woman by Lorrie Moore: seemed, from my point of view, to be the saddest of them all. It’s the story of a young girl who falls in love with a married man who plays games with her heart. She puts a lot of thinking into it, but can’t let go, until she finds she’s just another woman in his spiderweb. 😦

First love by Isaac Babel: I liked the tone of the story!

We didn’t by Stuart Dybek: also short, I loved the game of the words and phrases from it.

Un gând despre “My mistress’s sparrow is dead: great love stories from Chekhov to Munro

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