‘Shot of Short’ #19: The Missing Statues by Simon van Booy

Title: The Missing Statues by Simon van Booy
Date Read: 07 February 2008
Available Online?: YES (as one of the stories posted by Harper Perennial on their website Fifty-Two Stories, which promises a new (or classic) short story from their collection, posted every week throughout 2009)

Briefly: An American diplomat sits on a bench at the edge of St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City, crying. A Polish priest on hearing the man’s sobs, comes over to offers solace and comfort. The diplomat opens up and explains why he is upset, and it relates to a story from his childhood, a story prompted by a statue that’s missing from the ones that surround St. Peter’s Square.

Afterthoughts: Emmm..well I read this story and I was a bit puzzled by its meaning. So I read it again in the hope that all would become clear, but it’s main point still remains obscure. I did get some meaning from it, but what I got seems tenuous at best, so I’m thinking that perhaps this story runs a lot deeper than my simplistic brain can compute.

Don’t get me wrong van Booy’s prose is beautiful and it makes for delightful reading. He’s an eloquent way with his words, and the beginning of the story, to the point when the diplomat begins to relate his childhood tale, was so promising that I settled in (as much as you can ‘settle in’ for a short story :)) for what I thought was going to be a truly memorable reading experience. It was memorable to a point but I just felt as though I didn’t get any kind of closure on the story, any real notion of what the story was trying to tell me. Does that make sense? Probably not 🙂

Notable Quote: “I simply want to know why a missing statue has reduced a young American businessman to tears,” the priest said.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

*Story read as part of my 100 Shots of Short reading challenge.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).