Ellen's Reviews > Athletic Shorts: Six Short Stories

Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
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Nov 04, 09

Read in November, 2009

These are truly outstanding short stories that will impart moral lessons to young people, and they weren’t lost on me either.

What I also appreciated was the quality of the structure of the stories. Crutcher himself said, “The short-story form forced me to be precise beyond what had been required before, and the process gave me invaluable lessons in word and idea economy (Athletic Shorts, p. 4).”

Cormier’s I am the Cheese, which I read a month or so ago, has an outstanding novel structure. M.H. Abrams and Geoffrey Galt Harpham, in A Glossary of Literary Terms, quote R.S. Crane, a leader of the Chicago School of criticism, as defining structure as “the order, emphasis, and rendering of all its component subject matter and parts into ‘a beautiful and effective whole of a determinate kind (p. 126).’ “

I am the Cheese uses economy of expression and taut structure in alternating narrations that mutually illuminate each other. The Horn magazine called it, “Truly a novel in the tragic mode, cunningly wrought, shattering in its emotional implications.” Those “shattering implications” are brought about in the way Cormier structures the novel.

Crutcher is a young adult writer who also get the effects he does from careful structuring of his work.
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11/03/2009 page 52
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