[Hardback, paperback, and ebook editions.]
This is a startlingly good collection of short stories. I wish someone could explain to me why Stacy Aumonier is so little known. I taught creative writing for a few years, and my goodness, how useful I would have found these stories then; yet I had never even heard of Aumonier until a friend in London told me about this book.
Stacy Aumonier was a Londoner. He started writing during World War I, and was very highly regarded for his short stories both in the U.K. and in the U.S. during the 1920s. He died of tuberculosis in 1928, and then mysteriously was forgotten.
Some stories in this collection – and this was John Galsworthy’s opinion, too, not just mine – are among the best ever written. They should be in every school anthology, yet none of them are.
This volume does justice to Aumonier, in that it brings together his most accomplished work. (It is a thick volume, with 576 pages and 29 stories plus an essay and a short biography of Aumonier.) Aumonier published many other stories and some novels during his short writing career but Extremely Entertaining Short Stories contains the real gems. All the stories make compelling reading, and at least a half-dozen of them are classics that every student of English should be familiar with, including pure comedies such as “Where Was Wych Street” and “A Source of Irritation.”
When James Hilton, author of Goodbye Mr Chips, was asked by Good Housekeeping magazine to name his favourite short story, he picked one by Aumonier, “The Octave of Jealousy.” In plot, “The Octave of Jealousy” is reminiscent of O.Henry’s wonderful “The Social Triangle,” but the development of character is in a different league. “The Octave of Jealousy” is an extraordinarily perceptive (but sympathetic) study of human shallowness, and the elusiveness of contentment, up and down the rungs of society. It’s neatly written and amusing, but then Amonier is always amusing, and often hilarious.
This is a wonderful, wonderful anthology of short stories.
eBook EXTREMELY ENTERTAINING SHORT STORIES