Tell Me a Riddle by Tillie Olsen (1912~2007)
The works of Tillie Olsen have been translated into many languages.
Tell Me a Riddle was awarded the O. Henry Prize in 1961 for best American short story.
The story is about a couple who are married for 47 years with 7 children. In their youth, they fled from Russiaand came to U.S.A.with revolutionary ideals, but hard hit by the realities of life, they have become embittered and estranged. The story begins with a quarrel whether they should sell their house and move to an old people’s home. The heroine stubbornly sticks to living in solitude in the family house against good reason, but soon she is found to have terminal cancer. In the final phase of her life, memories stored up in her past come back to haunt her and readers begin to see why she ‘can no longer live between people’. At the end, the couple comes to terms with death and the life they have had together.
Click here to read the story and the Chinese translation by Amy, wife of Terence Leung (71).