Story Title: ‘Ten Plastic Roses’ by Yana Stajno
Collection/Anthology?: Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology 3 (Bristol Review of Books Ltd.)
Date Read: 20th February 2011
Briefly: Melanie arrives home to find that the dustmen have failed to lift a refuse sack next to her dustbin, which contains the remnants of a previous relationship. Spotting the dustcart in the near distance, she sets off in hot pursuit.
Afterthoughts: If the facility is there – which it always is with the Bristol Prize story anthologies – I always like to read an author’s bio to get a little background taster before diving in to the fruits of their labour. I read the piece on Yana Stajno’s before reading her story, and I’ve got to admit I was pretty excited. Born in Zimbabwe of French and Polish parents, Stajno studied at Cape Town University before moving to London in the 70s where she’s lived ever since. Stajno’s background as you can see is richly cosmopolitan, and I hoped that this would translate into a story that was as diverse and multi-cultured as the person who penned it. In this respect I was somewhat disappointed.
That said, although nothing of her colourful cultural background is evident, Stajno has still produced a fine story. It’s clear that she possesses a wry and somewhat slapstick sense of humour, and she employs that humour well, making Ten Plastic Roses a pleasurable and entertaining read. This story has more depth than that though. With the focus being on a woman who has reached boiling point with regards to coming to terms with the long-term resentment of a failed relationship, it also turns out to be a highly contemplative tale, too. Recommended!
This story was read as part of a review of the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology, Volume 3. If you want to find out more about this anthology then I invite you to head on over and read my ‘forethoughts’ post, and/or visit the the Bristol Short Story Prize website.