Widnes Library Reading Group
When we were asked to take part in the 'Short Story Project' we realised we had only 4 meetings from start to finish!!
At our first meeting I explained what the project involved, handed out the little books and then we all started talking about short stories that we had read. Lots of people had read some really good ones in the past – unfortunately some of the short stories we had read years ago we could remember the outline of the plot but so often couldn't remember the author or title!! But we had a lively and amusing evening and decided that at our next 'Christmas meeting' (while munching mince pies etc) we would vote for our favourite story from your selection.
When we met in December the Widnes Library Reading Group voted 'An Anxious Man' by James Lasdun as our favourite short story.
The group chose the short story because it was well written, creating a high tempo that engaged the reader's full involvement, often quickening the reader's pace as the tension mounts. It summoned up the useless cycle of anxiety where immediate worries push out longstanding ones but soon creep back once the immediate problems are solved. The pattern of highs and lows follows the behaviour of a weak and indecisive man who cannot stand by his own judgments but is totally dependent on outside influences. A good pace, excellent atmospheric descriptions of the holiday retreat, especially the episode in the water, and the emotive internal trauma of the 'anxious man', plus a double twist at the end - a good read!