We know a short story has a challenge: to deliver dramatic impact in a few pages. Even with that limitation, a good one stirs our emotions and continues to resonate long after we finish the last line.
Have you read “The Open Window” by H. H. Munro, pen name Saki (1870-1916)? It’s just four pages long. In it, Vera, a fifteen-year-old girl, tells a visitor the tragic story of why her aunt leaves a large French window wide open on an October afternoon. The visitor is indeed moved.
In the last line, the author says of the young girl: Romance at short notice was her specialty. The sentence, at first reading, may seem frivolous, a young girl being precocious, the author ironic. M-m-m-m. Is that all or is there more? For me, I feel something more sinister, that one day Vera will go too far with drastic consequences.
If you haven’t read the story … doesn’t take long.
What do you think about “The Open Window”? Does it deliver? Timeless? Dated?
Love to know your favorite short story.