Monday, January 14, 2008

SHORT STORY MONDAY: The Summer My Grandmother Was Supposed to Die by Mordecai Richler

The Summer My Grandmother was Supposed to Die by Mordecai Richler
from my Norton Anthology from university
I enjoyed my read of The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Richler so I thought I'd read his short story for my return to Short Story Monday. ( Did I mention Duddy's brother's name was Lenny? Is that a coincidence?)
Stories told of children's remembrances of youth are always somewhat suspect, as their version of events may be quite different from the adults of the same events. The title quite explains the events, but the back story of the situation that led the grandmother to live in the back room of the narrator's house, and the family decision to have his mother tend her mother, and then the family squabbles and tension that develop while caring for an elderly family member make up the bulk of the story. So this story is quite relevant today for the baby boomers looking after their parents. I liked the look at Jewish culture, as it is something I am not exposed to at all, and am not very familiar with. I know in larger cities, the Jewish population is bigger, but in PEI, there is not one I am aware of. The ending was a little touching too.
This story was in the section titled Focus and Voice, so the first person narrative and the perspective of the child were supposed to be important. It suggested rewriting the story from the mother's point of view. No thanks, I can imagine it, or find a novel to give me that experience. I'm a reader, not a writer.


  1. Oh I love Richler. And as for the suggestion to rewrite it, blah- how predictible for a text book.

  2. john - I am becoming a Richler fan, and luckily, I am at the beginning of reading his books.


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