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2020 Short Story Tourney > The Bear vs. Paper Menagerie Commentary

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message 1: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Oertel | 960 comments What a surprise that Paper Menagerie beat out the story with the most initial votes! Maybe because it has more of an emotional pull? We don't have booth commentary today, so everyone is welcome to start commenting on this matchup.


message 2: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 889 comments I’m surprised too that PM won, but not shocked. Bear is such a quiet story, powerful in its own way, but maybe it doesn’t resonate for as long? Paper Menagerie has such a bittersweet mix of whimsy and pain, I think I’ll remember it and feel it for much longer.


message 3: by Bretnie (new)

Bretnie | 504 comments Both of these were emotional reads for me, but Paper Menagerie had such a different feel than a lot of stories, which I appreciated. Not at all a criticism of The Bear, but it felt like a "normal" fiction story at a time when I'm really appreciating unique storytelling.


message 4: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments Bretnie wrote: "Both of these were emotional reads for me, but Paper Menagerie had such a different feel than a lot of stories, which I appreciated. Not at all a criticism of The Bear, but it felt like a "normal" ..."

Agreed Bretnie. I'm a sucker for magical-realism(ish) nowadays, the magic just heightens the humanity.


message 5: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 132 comments I gave Paper Menagerie an extra read before voting because it would have been a little sad to me to have Bear march relentlessly forward to claim the prize, and I wanted to give the underdog a chance...turns out I liked it very much


message 6: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Oertel | 960 comments Yes, I agree with everything above. Paper Menagerie will stay with me for a long time, especially that little tiger.


message 7: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments lark benobi wrote: "I gave Paper Menagerie an extra read before voting because it would have been a little sad to me to have Bear march relentlessly forward to claim the prize, and I wanted to give the underdog a chan..."

Lark, I found Bear to fit in well with the stories from yesterday, those 'hyper-male,' well-written stories that fit a certain arc and manage to spend an inordinate amount of time dwelling on MC's masculinity. It was so strange to me that it's written then by a woman and I can't tell if she's writing 'in the style of' to upend it or point out some distinctions (as Referential is perhaps trying to do?) or if she was writing for the industry and audience that respects those stories. I'm not familiar enough with the rest of Munro's writing to make a call about it but it makes me wonder if she could identify with Le Guin's musings that she had to 'learn how to write as a woman.'


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