Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Review: May We Borrow Your Husband?



Short stories are hard. They are, legend has it, hard to write. They are certainly hard for me to read. I generally skip a short story collection for a novel every time because I usually find short stories either pointlessly atmospheric or gimmicky.

But Graham Greene's little collection of 12 stories, May We Borrow Your Husband?, won me over. The title story about two gay men who woo away a honeymooning husband is a pitch-perfect Mid-Century period piece on closeted homosexuality. The others range from wryly comic to tragic, but all share a nerve-twinging honesty.

"Cheap in August" about a wife seeking a fling and "Two Gentle People" about star-crossed lovers are probably the best of the bunch from a literary standpoint. But my favorites were "A Shocking Accident" about a father killed by a pig, which I found delightful all around, and "The Invisible Japanese Gentlemen" about a self-absorbed young writer, which made me cringe and laugh at the same time.

May We Borrow Your Husband? made me reconsider the short story genre. And it raised Graham Greene even higher on my list of favorite authors.

OTHER REVIEWS

The New York Times (April 30, 1967)
My review of The Comedians

If you would like your review of this or any other Graham Greene book listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.

NOTES

I read this book for the Graham Greene Challenge and for the Books Written in the First Years of My Life Challenge.




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5 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I enjoy short stories more than I used to. This sounds like a great collection.

Nadia said...

I actually love short stories (ever since I read Jhumpa Lahiri's work), so I'm definitely excited to hear about this Graham Greene collection. Sounds like a terrific book to read. Great post!

Sandy Nachlinger said...

For me, the best way to read a collection of short stories is to take them one at a time. If I read one and then close the book, I absorb it better than if I go on to the next one without a pause.
This sounds like a book I'd adore. Thanks for the review.

Becky (Page Turners) said...

I feel exactly the same way about short story collections. I recognise they might be hard to write, but I find them hard to read. Sounds like this one might be a good one to look out for to see if I can re think the genre

TracyK said...

I also have a hard time reading short stories. Don't know why. The last time I read a mystery short story, I enjoyed. Maybe in 2013 I can make a goal to read one of my books of short stories that I keep avoiding.

The book of Greene's short stories does sound good.

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