Posted in Short Stories

Guy Davenport: Belinda’s World Tour

Deal Me In 2020 – Week 35

In Guy Davenport’s short story “Belinda’s World Tour”, Lizaveta, a little girl in Prague, loses her doll, Belinda, while at a park. Upset about it, that evening she tells a guest of her parents who then tells Lizaveta what happened to Belinda. She got whisked away on a tour around the world. It happened so fast that Belinda didn’t have time to tell Lizaveta.

Davenport formats the rest of the story in humorous postcards written to Lizaveta from Belinda. Here’s an excerpt from my favorite postcard – the one from Denmark:

Dear Lizaveta: Here we are in Copenhagen, staying with a nice gentleman named Hans Christian Andersen. He lives next door to another nice gentleman named Soren Kierkegaard…The harbor is the home of several mermaids.They are very shy…The Danes are melancholy and drink lots of coffee…I saw a bookstore in a shop with the title How To Be Sure As To What Is And What Isn’t. And The Doll’s Guide to Existentialism; If This, Then What? and You Are More Miserable Than You Think You Are. In haste, Belinda.

These postcards are sort of a gimick and kind of cute but they work. And why do they work? Because the dinner guest at Lizaveta’s parents was none other than Kafka. Yes, all it takes is the existence of a fictional Kafka to put the depth in this story and make it amazing. Presumably, he’s the one sending the post cards. Spoilers! By the end of the story, Lizaveta has a new doll and Belinda is married.

This story is included in Home and Beyond: An Anthology of Kentucky Short Stories edited by Morris Allen Grubbs. I read it when I selected the Ten of Clubs for Week 35 of my Deal Me In Short Story project. Check out my Deal Me In 2020 list here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.



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