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Short Story Discussion Group

The BOND Wednesday Short Story Group has 20-25 loyal literature enthusiasts, who are galvanized by the fact that a 10-page story can have as exciting and discussable a plot as a 300-page novel. Each year the group selects an anthology that includes mesmerizing short works in styles from magical realism to fictionalized true tales, compiled by a guest editor. Members volunteer to host at their home or party room, and take turns doing some research on the author and leading the discussion.

Among works engendering the most spirited dialogues this season was “Rubiaux Rising,” by Steve de Jarnatt, the story of a wounded, drug-dependent Iraq war veteran who returns home to New Orleans and then is trapped in an attic when Hurricane Katrina hits. Another riveting example was “Beyond the Pale,” by Joseph Epstein, centered on Arnold Berman, a young Time magazine journalist who is prevailed upon to translate an aged author’s Yiddish writings.  Themes of mythology, astronomy, birth defects and paternal love conjoin in the supernatural tale by Greg Hrbek, about a couple whose child was born in the form of a centaur.

Anthologies read in past years include Best Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike, and a group favorite, Lost Tribe: Jewish Fiction from the Edge, edited by Paul Zakrzewski.  This latter collection focused on Jewish identity issues as synthesized by contemporary authors under 40 years old. The Short Story Group’s conversations about those narratives revealed a generation gap and impelled us to open our minds about what presently concerns our Jewish children and grandchildren.

It is safe to say that BOND members who attend Short Story Group put those second Wednesdays of each month first and foremost. Revealed in each concise tale are universal, life-affirming themes that are not soon forgotten.

This article was written by BOND Short Story Group participant Sharon Zweigbaum.

Short Story Discussion Group meetings are usually on the second Wednesday morning of the month and held at the Party Room at the RidgePointe West complex in Minnetonka.  The cost for each meeting is $1.00 per person, a donation to the BOND Scholarship Fund.  Coffee is served at 9:30 am, and the discussion begins at 10 am.

Lorraine Diamond chairs the Short Story group.

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