I have read many complimentary opinions and laudatory paragraphs about these stories. I bought a fat book, 1000 plus pages, two columns per page. I began on page one “The Ball of Fat” about Prussians occupying a town. It seemed like a short story; the writer was practicing his descriptions so it was full of experimentation. Four columns on an open book is very daunting, like I was living in the nineteenth century reading a single story in a newspaper printed in eight columns per page. That type to retrocession is nothing nobody needs unless one reads the Bible.
My next thought about reading the story, “The Ball of Fat,” which I assumed does not eventually refer to a person but a cherished ingredient used for cooking. Both the Germans and French cook with fat. It was easy to stop reading because I don’t need my life influenced by this dietary heresy.
I wondered about the next story, “The Diamond Necklace,” but again was stuck on the four columns over two pages. I was suspicious, so a revelation came: I had bought the wrong book. Someone better than than I likely had put the best Maupassant short stories in one regularly columned book. If “The Diamond Necklace” appeared in a thinner volume with a normal format, it likely meant that story was worth reading.
So I stopped reading Maupassant in bulk. Perhaps I’ll reread Stephan Crane – “Blue Hotel” and “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky” to relearn how short stores can be perfected.
Sky” to see how short stories can be perfected.