I received my first issue of One Story this weekend, the magazine of only — you guessed it — one story. I was introduced to One Story by one of its readers, James Scott, when he months ago manned a table at a bookstore panel of local literary magazines. He urged me to subscribe, and, finally, I did. One Story makes no pains for cover art: Just the title and author. I understand they change the color of the cover sheet. The story inside is what matters.
Fellow blogger and writer Karen Carlson reviewed “Tiger” recently and I comment there with some of my thoughts, including how this short story is the next in the line of several tiger-themed stories, which marched into 2011 following Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua and The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht.
I understand Karen’s lament on the writing style, although I did not dislike it. I could feel the longing of Essie, the Catholic Indian matriarch, abandoned in Bombay by her daughter who married an American and has two daughters of her own in the States. I understood the daughter, Marian, who visited her mother on principle and then felt the anguish of returning home on the heels of hearing horrible news of her mother’s health. The half-assed (?) attempt of Essie’s husband at consoling her, at being there for her at a key moment when in all other moments he has been noticeably absent. And, as Karen astutely pointed out, how her grandchildren cry when stray kittens are nowhere to be seen on the day the family leaves, but they do not cry for their grandmother.