Monday, June 14, 2010

On "A Dunnet Shepherdess" by Sarah Orne Jewett (7032 words) ***

This tale by Jewett is to me the best of the four shorter Dunnet Landing works she wrote. I was reminded of Hemingway's "Big Two-Hearted River." Like that story, this one focuses mostly on the very physical landscape into which our main character interjects herself. We don't get much commentary. We get nature in the raw. The story starts with the main character's landlady's brother coming for a visit. On the sly, the main character slips out with William, the brother, to go fishing. A morning spent there, one almost feels as if the main character is in love with William, though no words are ever exchanged to that effect. But be forewarned, there is love--it's just not where one expects it at first. Sheep are involved. And an old lady. And mosquito lotion. And of course fish. You can read the story here.

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