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Q: Famous Short Story Author ( No Answer,   8 Comments )
Subject: Famous Short Story Author
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Books and Literature
Asked by: amca014-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 28 Sep 2006 15:38 PDT
Expires: 28 Oct 2006 15:38 PDT
Question ID: 769318
Hi there,

I would like to find the name of the author of a book of short stories
that I stumbled across a few years ago in a university library.

I remember one of the stories was about a soldier in indochina who has
stepped on a landmine that will explode when he steps off.. from
memory the story is just about his thoughts after he has been left by
his platoon in the jungle. Another story was set in a New York
apartment but I can't remember anything about it. They were all quite
macabre but with fascinating twists.

I remember the author had a very foreign sounding name, maybe russian
sounding, starting with maybe an M or W, haha I realise these are odd
clues. For some reason I suspected he might have actually come from
France though.

The author must be quite famous because there were quite a few books
with his name on them in the library.

I'm just after the author's name.


Request for Question Clarification by pinkfreud-ga on 28 Sep 2006 16:32 PDT
I wonder if you may be thinking of David Jauss. His short story
"Freeze" involves a young soldier in Vietnam who steps on the kind of
landmine (called a "Bouncing Betty") that is designed to explode when
you step off it.

The story appears in Jauss's collection "Black Maps." Here you can see
a picture of the book's cover, and read excerpts from the stories:

Does this seem familiar? Is David Jauss your author?

Clarification of Question by amca014-ga on 29 Sep 2006 05:58 PDT
Wow that is very close, but in this story the soldier is I think
waiting for death, and the punchline is that he starts getting cramp
in the leg that is standing on the mine. Its one of those things where
I imagine that it must be very difficult to research, but if you've
read it a light will flash up in your head. As I mentioned, the
stories are all very dark and generally involve death of some sort.

I would guess that they were written at least 25 years ago, but during
or after the french war in indochina. That must leave about 30
years... how many short stories could have been written then? haha.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Famous Short Story Author
From: tardis-ga on 29 Sep 2006 06:17 PDT
Ok, this is a wild guess because I am not familiar with most of his
short stories, but your description of the author made me think of HH
Munro (Saki). According to the following website he joined the Burma
police, then became a journalist and correspondent in Russia and
Paris. The following website also has some of his stories; perhaps you
can find the one you are looking for:
Subject: Re: Famous Short Story Author
From: amca014-ga on 29 Sep 2006 06:36 PDT
Very nice try, but I dont think its the guy because Saki died in 1918,
and at a guess I don't think they had that sort of landmine then.

You have reminded me of another clue, this one is quite possibly a
proper red herring; in the same section of the library (I was supposed
to be studying but got bored easily), I also read a play about someone
 who gets thrown out of a window by police in italy - 'accidental
death of an anarchist' i think it's called. Im sure that play is very
famous, there was another one by the same guy about hitmen and a dumb
waiter. Now the books were nearby, so at a guess I would say that
their surnames were similar, or perhaps the author I'm after was a
similar writer, maybe a playwright as well?!
Subject: Re: Famous Short Story Author
From: tardis-ga on 29 Sep 2006 08:00 PDT
For all researchers: the play "Accidental Death of an Anarchist" was
written by Dario Fo. So it sounds like the name of amca014-ga's writer
would probably begin with E, F, or G (depending on how big that
section was in the library).
Subject: Re: Famous Short Story Author
From: crud3w4re-ga on 30 Sep 2006 16:18 PDT
I will take a shot at this:

The Gate, by Francoise Bizot?

"This is the true story of Francois Bizot, a French ethnologist who
was captured and imprisoned by the Khmer Rouge. Eerie recounts of the
author?s interrogation sessions with Comrade Duch, the man who would
later become the head of notorious Tuol Sleng concentration camp."
Subject: Re: Famous Short Story Author
From: amca014-ga on 02 Oct 2006 09:01 PDT
Unfortunately I dont think thats the one. I want to know the name of
the author of a short story. Its about a soldier who has been left in
the jungle by his comrades, standing on a landmine in indochina, and
getting cramp in his leg.

I don't remember there being a military or indochina theme running
through the short stories in the book at all. The only other story I
remember was about an apartment in New York.
Subject: Re: Famous Short Story Author
From: amca014-ga on 04 Oct 2006 04:18 PDT
Just remembered a little more about the apartment story: It is about a
murder that has occurred - I believe the scene is described using the
names of the characters involved (someone comes home to find a chaotic
scene, broken glass,etc), the twist is that the victim was an animal -
I think it was a fish (obviously a pet fish with a name).
Subject: Re: Famous Short Story Author
From: phinky-ga on 04 Oct 2006 20:10 PDT
The outlines and descriptions you gave remind me of the short stories
of Roald Dahl. Although renowned, latterly, for his childrens
books...he wrote at least three decidedly 'adult' collections of short
stories which I read in the mid seventies. They were dark, often
bizarre and always with an unexpected twist. His name is of Norwegian
origin I believe.
Subject: Re: Famous Short Story Author
From: amca014-ga on 08 Oct 2006 15:06 PDT
Thanks for the idea.. I have a large collection of Roald Dahl's
stories, so I thought perhaps I might have been confused. I have had a
good rummage through them all now though and I am convinced that he
didn't write the story above.

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