The first story is called The Christmas Tree and The Wedding. I want to start this review with a simple observation: I can so relate to the fact of being an outsider at a party. That awkward moment when you only know one person and the whole time you're holding a cup just to have something to do with your hands. I promised myself long time ago, that I would never go to a party or social gathering of any sort, out of obligation. It's a painful situation that no one should ever experience! There's nothing left to do but to observe people and most of the times, it's not that rewarding; you don't have a partner to share jokes with. As Seinfeld would say: "What, am I gonna make sarcastic remarks to strangers?" Everything ends up being forced and grotesque. Ugh.
Anyway, that (amazing discovery) being said, this is a sad, disturbing and merciless portrayal of a superficial society that treats people according to what they own. Not an unusual situation, at all.
“Afterwards I could not help admiring the discrimination of the host and hostess in the distribution of the children's presents. (…) He longed to play with the other children, but did not dare; it was evident that he already felt and understood his position.”
Beautiful writing as always, and it has a twist at the end that leaves you feeling weird, uncomfortable.
The other story is called Bobok which I already reviewed here.