Rachel Joyce’s short story collection A Snow Garden and Other Stories (2015) is composed of seven stories which occur during a fortnight of the holiday, Christmas season. The collection uses narrative techniques which make it a unique set of stories. The stories have an urban setting and examine the intricacies of human relationships. The sense of interconnection highlighted by Joyce in the stories elevates it to a short story cycle. A short story cycle consists of individual stories which can stand on their own as complete narratives while also maintaining fictional links running through all the stories. The paper is an attempt to establish A Snow Garden and Other Stories as a short story cycle. It also argues that by narrating the interconnected nature of human lives Joyce’s work is exploring life as a complex system. As a scientific philosophy complexity theory explores the behavior of complex systems including human societies. Complex systems are self-organizing, dynamic, evolving networks that operate without any centralized control; similar to human societies. This paper will apply the principles of complex systems to reveal patterns of human behavior represented in Joyce’s work.
Shaju Nalkara Ouseph
complex system, complexity theory, human relationships, short story cycle