Taking Pictures by Anne Enright


This is a collection of nineteen short stories, some of which I really like, but there are a couple of which I just didn’t get it, like the story Taking Pictures which graced the title of the book. I like that this Irish writer, winner of The Man Booker Prize 2007. She writes simply and I didn’t have to keep referring to my phone for the dictionary, which is kind of distracting since I end up doing other things with my phone.

I like that this writer experiments with different POVs, and the protagonists consist of males and females of different ages and backgrounds. A facilitator at a writer’s workshop once said, the first story a writer writes is mainly through experience, and subsequently, stories are written through empathy. Anne Enright proves just that. From reading this book, you wouldn’t be able to get a sense of the writer’s bio, not her age nor her background, for her protagonists do not provide any clues.

I bought this book a decade ago when Borders Singapore was still in business and had probably started it many times but did not manage to continue, for the first story did not draw me in. So this time, I started with the second story and then skipped around, without following the sequence, before finally finishing the book. I thoroughly enjoyed In the Bed Department, a story about a middle-aged bed saleswoman who has a one night stand who discovers she is pregnant at a late age. Another story I like is Honey, about a woman who is attracted to her boss and is invited to a working trip with him and is sure, or so she hopes that something will happen. There is this awkwardness of who should make the first move, how often they do it, etc. The writer has managed the inner confllict perfectly.

The problem with short stories is that the ending is often inconclusive, and you are left pondering, which is rather unsatisfying, yet this is apparently what many editors like, a hanging ending, which is unlike the way Roald Dahl writes his short stories, very neat and complete.

Now as a novice writer to short stories, I am left wondering how I should go about with my endings.







About vickychong

Just an ordinary woman.
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3 Responses to Taking Pictures by Anne Enright

  1. Sjaak says:

    Hi Vicky,

    A never ending story! That is a story like some soap series. Some people love it and I don’t have the patience for this. Repeating the same concept over and over again. “The Big Bang Theory” is fun, when new and fresh, but the repetitions are like “Oh, that will happen now again”. People seem to want to have the surprise, otherwise it will be boring. A good short story is one with a good plot and surprise. That I like the most. “Two and a Half Men” in the beginning hilarious, but after so many years, ” I now get the hang of it” . No wonder Charly Sheen got in trouble with his addictions about alcohol and maybe other stuff. And I don’t want to believe he has in real life another babe in bed every week. But you never know about actors in Holywood, I think.

    There was once this funny commercial in The Netherlands about Charly.

    Smart money making about your problems. 🙂

    I hope you know of what series I am talking about. They must have been seen all over the world I guess. Otherwise you don’t get the picture.

    When you are good in making short stories, you must be genius or have lots of imagination and patience. Roald Dahl shut himself up in his pavilion for hours and hours to get his short stories right. I saw once a documentary about him.


    • vickychong says:

      Hi Jack,

      Thanks for sharing. I don’t watch Two and a Half Men, preferring the soap series you mentioned in Korean dramas 🙂
      I could send you my short story to see if you like it. But I guess men really have no patience with women’s writing, or am I being sexist?
      Have a good weekend! I am off to Hong Kong next week.


      • Sjaak says:

        Hi Vicky,

        Anyhow I have plenty time to read and do the things I like to do. Making the positive out of negative things. Men and women, Yes, there is always this tension between the genders. But I don’t see why people should act differently, when talking or writing about
        mutual interests.


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