July's monthly column at PopMatters featured five short stories about siblings by these fine contemporary writers: Martha Bátiz, K Anis Ahmed, Jenny Zhang, Lidudumalingani, and Kseniya Melnik. While there are certainly wonderful classics by writers like D H Lawrence, Flannery O'Connor, et al, these contemporary writers have explored finer and deeper nuances of sibling relationships using singular narrative styles and voices.
This month, we look at intimate relationships that happen later in life — older women finding love in unexpected and interesting ways. These stories avoid the usual stereotypes/tropes to show all the complexities & intensities of later-life relationships, including how society responds to them. The authors — Elizabeth Taylor, Toni Cade Bambara, Lucia Berlin, Amy Bloom, and Yiyun Li — cover a wide range of issues and themes in these stories and the women protagonists are, for the most part, strong-minded and reaching for the love (or lust) relationships they want despite what people around them say or do. We certainly need more such later-life love stories, especially stories with more diverse and unconventional relationships from all around the world. As Isaac Bashevis Singer had once said: "The novelists never told us that in love, as in other matters, the young are just beginners and that the art of loving matures with age and experience."
This month, my short stories column at PopMatters is all about the journey — by train, bus, airplane, car, even foot. And how, in that state of being neither here nor there, just about anything can happen. These five stories are also excellent examples of travel as a versatile literary device. The stories (free to read online) are from all over the world and by these fine writers: Asako Serizawa, Nanjil Nadan, Goli Taraghi, Stephen King, and John Cheever.