Hotel of the Saints

Ursula Hegi

It’s been a long while since I even tried to read a short story collection—I read a lot of short stories in 2003 and I daresay it burnt me out. So I was glad that Melanie sent me this Ursula Hegi collection for my birthday. A nice reminder of my appreciation of the short fiction.

Hegi is grounded in the exploration of moments, where a story can exist primarily to describe a single moment. I love when the development leads up to a final scene that delivers a simple truism. There’s a story by Ellen Gilchrist that perfectly illustrates this—of course, I read that book before I started keeping a booklog, so I’d have to dig around boxes for my old paper reading journals to even try to figure out which one it was. The interesting thing about the Gilchrist story was that I pretty much hated it up until the final scene, which was just beautiful. There’s nothing as exaggerated as that in Hegi’s stories, but most do seem to have a single scene that bestows a clearer weight than the others.