Goyen said a short story was, “a rhythm, a charged movement, a chain of pulses or beats. To write out of life is to catch, in pace, this pulse that beats.” He wrote exquisitely. Here’s an appreciation piece I found from his centenary in 2015. I’ve chosen one of the silliest of the stories from his 1985 collection. In it, a woman struggles to explain how she inherited a Venetian palazzo, describing an improbable friend of hers — the titular figure — who had more money than taste, but a knack for ensuring everyone had a good time. Just as telling are the narrator’s self-interruptions and digressive asides.
Anthologised in Had I A Hundred Mouths, Clarkson N Potter, 1985. Available to read in the Triquarterly archive here.