Friday, June 19, 2015

"Freud at Thirty Paces" by Sara Paretsky



Continuing on my journey with the Deal Me in Short Story Challenge, this week I drew the Jack of Hearts and thus read  "Freud at Thirty Paces" by Sara Paretsky.  The story was first published in 1st CULPRIT: A Crime Writer's Annual edited by Liza Cody and Michael Z. Lewin in 1992. I have discovered, in only the few stories I have thus far encountered in the Crime Writer's Annuals, that the stories are all written by crime writer's but not all the stories are crime fiction. This one is humorous and it is interesting, with a substantial story, but it is not about a crime.

What I found very curious about this story is that is was also published a year later in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror Seventh Annual Collection edited by Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow. As far as I can tell, the story is neither fantasy or horror. It is not strictly realistic, but I can't see it classified as any kind of fantasy. I would love to know why it was included in that volume.


The short introduction to the story in that volume (written by Terri Windling) describes Sara Paretsky as "the acclaimed bestselling author of the V.I. Warshawski mysteries. Her work is informed by a keen ear for dialogue and a sly sense of irony, yet retains a strong humanity. Vic, as only her friends may call her, works Chicago, where Paretsky lives."

The one sentence summary of the story is:
"Freud at Thirty Paces" is a hilarious account of two men at war with each other whose weapons are theory, Freud, and their own enlarged egos.
I cannot think of anything to add to that. I enjoyed the story, it was entertaining, and it was not the story I expected.

Every other week I draw a random card to determine what short story I will read. My list of short stories for the Deal Me In Short Story Challenge is hereJay at Bibliophilopolis hosts the challenge.

12 comments:

  1. I've not read anything by her since the early 80's. Glad you enjoyed this one Tracy!

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    1. I think I read some of her books back then too, Col. But I cannot remember specifics.

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  2. Oh, how interesting, Tracy! I've never read any of Paretsky's short stories. This one sounds like a solid read, too. Thanks.

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    1. As I said above, Margot, certainly not what I expected. But it did remind to read some of her novels.

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  3. Tracy, the one-sentence summary has pricked my curiosity. I will try and and read this short story.

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    1. It is well worth the read, Prashant. I hope you find a copy. I thought I saw it available online but now I cannot find it.

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  4. I'm puzzled too at why it would be included in a horror and fantasy collection, (I always find the "provenance" of stories interesting (nerd alert!) for some reason, especially those that have been published in multiple places, etc.) I thnk this story has a great title too. "Freud at Thirty Paces"(!). That's great!

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    1. I agree, Jay, I want to know when the story was first published and where, and then where else. I love the title too. I would also like to know why Paretsky wrote the story. I thought maybe she had a background in psychology but it does not appear so.

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  5. I keep meaning to read some more Sara Paretsky, but it will probably another of her PI stories rather than a short story....

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    1. I feel like I must have read some of her books earlier, Moira, but can't really remember so I plan to start over with them.

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  6. What? Something by Sara Paretsky I haven't read? Unbelievable. I've read all the V.I. Warshawski books and a few stand-alones.

    I will track this down to the ends of the earth. It's by one of my favorite mystery authors so I'll turn on my radar. All clues appreciated as to where I can find it.

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    1. These are the titles I found where it had been published:
      First appeared in 1st Culprit: A Crime Writers' Association Annual (1992) [Anthology] ;
      Also appeared in the Summer 1993 issue of The Armchair Detective.
      Also appeared in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Seventh Annual
      Collection (1993)

      Those were the only sources I could find.

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