Is it the form of the clouds, the color of the sky, or the color of the surrounding objects which is so changeable, that has troubled my thoughts as they passed before my eyes? Who can tell? Everything that surrounds us, everything that we see, without looking at it, everything that we touch, without knowing it, everything that we handle, without feeling it, all that we meet, without clearly distinguishing it, has a rapid, surprising and inexplicable effect upon us and upon our senses, and, through them, on our ideas and on our heart itself.
The French author Guy de Maupassant is considered one of the founding fathers of the modern short story. This collection includes classics such as "The Necklace" and "Ball-of-Fat" ("Boule de Suif").
The settings of Maupassant's stories range from a hungry carriageful of passengers on the road during the Franco-Prussian War to a religious woman enchanted by an artist's painting; from poor families in Normandy trying to make ends meet to a man discovering he is haunted by a supernatural being. Some recurring themes spring up in more than one story, such as the profession and moral of a prostitute, which seems to fascinate Maupassant.
Maupassant's detailed descriptions of people and places as well as his complex sentences and prolonged settings of the scene may put off some readers who would prefer the more postmodern, simplified method of telling a short story. But ultimately the unique atmosphere in Maupassant's stories is created through the sophisticated, polished use of language and the inevitable tragic twists in the tale, often embellished with black humour.
Guy de Maupassant: The Necklace and Other Short Stories. Dover Publications. 1992. 119 pages.
Wikipedia: Guy de Maupassant
Wikipedia: "Boule de Suif"
Wikipedia: "The Necklace"