short stories Archive

An Animating Strangeness

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I can’t resist impossibilities in fiction. Of course, a story’s fabulism is no guarantee I’m going to love that story in the end—but if a first line promises me a new world, I’m going to keep reading.

Can the Short Story Unify Us?—Finding Community in The Best American Short Stories 2016

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We have made it to 2017 with little protest (to the passing of last year, that is) and a whole lot of wonder about what to think of the previous twelve months. With an array of emotion fluttering over the land like strong winds, the confusion and misunderstanding and,

Fiction Responding to Fiction: John Cheever and Raymond Carver

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In 1983, Raymond Carver included “The Train” in his collection Cathedral; he dedicated the story to John Cheever. and from the first words of the story, where one of the characters from a Cheever story is named, we see that Carver’s story will be responding to Cheever’s classic tale.

Fiction Responding to Fiction: Flannery O’Connor and Alice Munro

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Munro has spoken about her debt to American writers from the South, including O’Connor, and we can clearly see how “Save the Reaper” is responding to O’Connor’s story by touching on similar themes and even moments, and yet spinning off from the original in true Munro fashion.

Songs that are Perfect Short Stories: Using Repetition

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Some of the most effective short stories are by songwriters. The constraints and conventions of a five-minute pop song can structure a narrative in ways that, even before you get to the music, are incredibly moving.

Why Write Short Stories?

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Much like our lives, short stories are brief and end abruptly. They summon entire worlds in just a few pages and then bow out, with startling precision and compression. It is a delicate balance, and such delicate work requires small hands.

Stories are Never Neutral: Disability, Representation, and Autonomous Press

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From childhood, we’re taught to see ourselves as others see us. We learn to synthesize “Head, shoulders, knees and toes” into a whole through a complex process of self-identification. We see who and what we’re taught to see, a looping phenomena that means we’re literally made up of story.

Review: INHERITED DISORDERS: STORIES, PARABLES, & PROBLEMS by Adam Ehrlich Sachs

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The shorts are wide-ranging. Some are heartbreaking in less than 500 words; others are unexpectedly hilarious whether outright or with a darker flavor to their humor. Disorders is a contemporary stable of parables not only about fathers and sons, but about the everyday struggle to live one’s life in

Review: WHISKEY, ETC.: SHORT (SHORT) STORIES by Sherrie Flick

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In her miniature portraits of a failed salesman transformed through food, a forgetful elderly woman, a young woman making dinner for a sometime-boyfriend at the same moment that he is dying, Flick examines seduction and heartbreak, the complications of new relationships, the dynamics of long-time ones, love, loss, and

Big Picture, Small Picture: Context for Jhumpa Lahiri’s INTERPRETER OF MALADIES

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His voice a thin radio rasp, Neil Armstrong coaches Buzz Aldrin down the ladder of the Lunar Module. “It’s about a three footer,” he says of that last step to the chalky surface below. The second man on the moon leaps from the final rung and lands buoyantly.