Monday, June 22, 2009

Microbe Monday -- Tobermory

I'm starting a new tradition. It's called Microbe Monday, see, and it's in response to the generally accepted idea that Mondays are kinda crappy and nobody wants to do anything. I dunno how true it is for anyone. Personally, I like Mondays.

Whatever, the whole idea is to talk about something small. We're all very into books here, but Microbe Monday is more about the blurb. The article. The short story. The haiku.

So over the weekend, I'll seek out a new literary magazine or open a collection to a random poem or just pick a story I remember from my past and riff on it. Briefly! I don't expect this to turn into a meme, but feel free to gank my little graphic and do it yourself too!

Incidentally, the microbe mascot of Microbe Monday is Grover. He's kinda surly, so just ignore him.

Microbe Monday

For this first ever Microbe Monday, I picked a short story by Saki called "Tobermory." It's about a cat who, through the wonders of Edwardian era science, has learned to speak English. Kudos, Tobermory! Actually, kudos to the scientist who developed the technique, Mr. Appin, who decides to showcase this marvel at Lady Blemley's house party, Tobermory being her cat.

Naturally, the cat tells all the guests' secrets and repeats all the mean things they've said about each other behind closed doors. Obviously... I mean if they're not battling evil, what else do talking cats ever do? Anyway, it's hilarious. Soon, Lady Blemley laments that her cat will have to be put down.

Saki's whole raison d'être is to critique the hypocracy of Edwardian society, and of all the stories I've read by him this one does it most bluntly. It's a concise and amusing introduction to his work, and you can read it in five minutes.

I read "Tobermory" out of The Penguin Complete Saki (1982), but it's in the public domain along with all of Saki's works, and therefore available online. Go read it immediately.

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