Ich suche nach einem Kurzgeschichtschreiber
January 5, 2007 2:41 AM   Subscribe

Help me find the (prolific, I think) short story writer I read in high school! Fuzzy, mixed up memories inside.

While in high school I remember reading a short story. As I recall, it went something along the lines of a man is searching for the train station, but no matter how many people he asks, no one knows where it is. I think they give inane and useless answers. He misses his train. The story is extremely short.

As far as the author, it seems like he was in a war (WWI or WWII I believe) and was somehow injured. He went back to his home country, but was told he only had a brief time to live. He spends his remaining time writing a large number of very short stories.

I may be getting some of this wrong (or hell, maybe all of it), but that's what I remember. If you know anyone who could remotely fit the description, please let me know.
posted by !Jim to Writing & Language (9 answers total)
It's an outside chance, but you may be thinking of the story "The Artificial Nigger" by Flannery O'Connor.
posted by saladin at 4:54 AM on January 5, 2007

This sounds a lot like Kafka (both in tone and the particular story - not to mention your German title line). I'll try to follow up shortly with the title of the exact story.
posted by sueinnyc at 5:19 AM on January 5, 2007

I think the story is "Gibs Auf!" ("Give Up!"). There are full German and English versions on the web -- search Google for Kafka and the name of the story.
posted by sueinnyc at 5:25 AM on January 5, 2007

I guess the more literal translation "Give It Up" is used. Sorry about that.
posted by sueinnyc at 5:29 AM on January 5, 2007

Seconding "Give It Up!" by Kafka, though the biographical details don't really match (save for knowing that he had a relatively short time to live; I think K was just sickly and not a veteran, though I could be wrong). He definitely penned "very short stories" -- if memory serves, "Give It Up!" is all of two pages.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:10 AM on January 5, 2007

Give it Up!

It's only about 150 words (at least the translations I can find are), and the protaganist only asks one person, a policeman, the way. No mention of him missing the train.
posted by Robot Rowboat at 6:38 AM on January 5, 2007

In the future if you're trying to remember a forgotten childhood book you might try Loganberry Books. They have solved many cases of forgotten childhood favorites.
posted by brookeb at 7:41 AM on January 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

Thanks everyone. I don't know where I got that biography, but the story is definitely Gibs Auf! I had sworn it wasn't Kafka, but I guess I was wrong.
posted by !Jim at 11:08 AM on January 5, 2007

Could it be Gerald Kersh? He was in WWII and suffered from ill health all through the fifties. He also wrote tons of short stories.
posted by Prof. Hex at 11:12 AM on January 5, 2007

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