Short Story ID, please.
November 10, 2011 8:15 AM   Subscribe

Please help me ID a short story I read many years ago. A handicapped woman, living with her sister and her sister's family, sees a man in church whom she feels quite sure is the devil. In order to get away from him, she struggles to regain the physical independence she had given up. (She had gone into a wheelchair because walking was possible, but too painful.) She does manage to become self-sufficient enough to move out on her own--and the rest I'm not sure of. I asked this question two years ago--I'm trying again. It's still driving me crazy.
posted by uans to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Do you recall where you saw the story? A magazine, a book of short stories, etc. Thanks!
posted by iconomy at 9:59 AM on November 10, 2011

This has a lot of hallmarks of Flannery O'Connor but I looked through the Collected Stories Cliff's Notes and couldn't find anything. Do you know what period it's set in?
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 10:17 AM on November 10, 2011

Response by poster: I read this 20 plus years ago, in a collection of short stories. I have a vague recollection that it was an Italian author, but evidently not Calvino--I've checked that out pretty thoroughly. I feel strongly it was something in translation rather than an English language writer. As for period--hard to say--the story as I recall it was set in the fifties or sixties, I guess.
posted by uans at 11:01 AM on November 10, 2011

Response by poster: I remember only one other story from the collection--about a woman who goes through her daily existence in a sort of self-induced trance and has to leave cans of food lying on the floor--when she bumps into them it reminds her to eat.
posted by uans at 11:03 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I checked out everyone in the Italian short story authors category of Wikipedia and found no solid leads, in case anyone was planning on attempting it. Is there ANYTHING else at all that you remember? Names, keywords, etc.?...
posted by julthumbscrew at 12:04 PM on November 10, 2011

it sounds a lot like Shirley Jackson -- woman-centered, the devil as an is-he or isn't-he background character, etc. -- though not The Lottery and Other Stories because I've read them all multiple times. also not Italian, but the 50s/60s time period would be right.
posted by changeling at 12:36 PM on November 10, 2011

Response by poster: No julthumbscrew, that's absolutely all i have in terms of recall--except that I also feel the author was male (now that Jackson is mentioned)
posted by uans at 12:59 PM on November 10, 2011

The second story you described sounds like "Dazed" from the collection My Husband (originally published as Mio marito) by Dacia Maraini.
posted by hat at 12:02 AM on November 11, 2011

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