Jane Smiley Short Fiction Analysis - Essay

Jane Smiley Short Fiction Analysis

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

David Leavitt has called Jane Smiley “the contemporary American master of the novella form,” and she herself regards the novella’s “more meditative” thematic concentration and streamlined plotting as particularly congenial to her artistic ends. Having begun her career as what she calls a “devoted modernist” preoccupied with the nihilistic anomie dramatized in the great literature of the early twentieth century, Smiley found herself losing that alienated edge when she first became pregnant. In trying to resolve the ensuing creative challenge that plagued her—“Can mothers think and write?”—she discovered her true subject: the continually shifting dynamics of familial relationship. Her best work captures the...

(The entire section is 3251 words.)