Author’s autobiography: First review

When I was in 8th or 9th grade I went through a phase of reading WWI novels, like All’s Quiet on the Western Front, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and Johnny Got His Gun. While reading these, I remember thinking about what happened after the war when the soldiers came home. How would they relate to those who had not experience what they had? What would they say?

These questions led me to write a short story about a soldier who came back from the First World War to his wife. He found that she was still patriotic and believed in the value of the war. He, on the other hand, had seen too much death to believe in these words any more. The story was about the gradual dissolving of their marriage in the face of this emotional and experiential chasm. {I am summarising the story in a much more elegant way than it was written, as far as I can recall}

Author O. HenryHaving finished the story I showed it to my dad. After he had read it, he said that he liked it and that it reminded him of an O. Henry story. I have to admit I was disappointed when he said that. I had no idea who O. Henry was, but was pretty sure he was not Erich Maria Remarque or Vicente Blasco Ibanez and they were the authors I was trying to imitate.

I did not realise at the time that I had my first encounter with that bane of all writers: the reader. My dad, not having the same references that I had, related my story to what he knew; in this case O. Henry. He could have been correct about the similarity. I am sure that I had heard at least one of O. Henry’s stories, “The Gift of the Magi,” at some point so I could have picked up some style from that. Whether I did or not, is not really the point. I discovered that people bring their own worlds to what they read, and write. These worlds shape the experience of the story and are completely subjective.

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