short stories Archive

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Lunar Facts” by Michele Finn Johnson

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Human beings are nothing if not list makers. Grocery lists. Chore lists. Listings of jobs, scores, events. Lists are a way in which we bring order to a chaotic world. The same could be said of stories, which is why lists can make such great story structures. Michele Finn

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Crash Sheep Plant” by Emily Abrons

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Last week’s column discussed the nature of perception, and the way in which Dan Reiter’s “Shifts” revealed how one mind might battle over the interpretation of the same event. In this week’s story, “Crash Sheep Plant” (Alice Blue Review 26), Emily Abrons juxtaposes a car crash with grazing sheep

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Rain” by Ben Loory

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In her essay, “Fairy Tale is Form, Form is Fairy Tale,” (from The Writer’s Notebook, Tin House Books) Kate Bernheimer discusses how the psychological flatness of characters in tales and fables “allows depth of response in the reader.” In Ben Loory’s “Rain” (Journal of Compressed Creative Arts), we’re given

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Persons of Interest” by D.J. Thielke

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“If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed,” wrote Sylvia Plath. Human beings can’t help but have expectations of each other and of themselves, even if those expectations are for nothing (which, of course, they never are). In D.J. Thielke’s “Persons of Interest” (Crazyhorse 87), the expectations characters

Review: GET IN TROUBLE by Kelly Link

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Get in Trouble Kelly Link Random House, Feb 2015 352 pages Buy: book | eBook For a long time, with all due respect to the memoirists, I’ve believed that fiction holds a particular truth in literature. Maybe by removing the self from the work, and unburdening the story of actual

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “A Prerogative” by Rolf Yngve

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We humans as a species have difficulty accepting that our heroes are made of the same plain stuff as the rest of us, which is why it can be so difficult to write a hero story in which the protagonist’s heroic actions appear, well, human. Rolf Yngve’s story, “A

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “The Radical” by Brock Clarke

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A few weeks ago I wrote about the risky ending of Mary Helen Specht’s “Night Island,” and how her switching perspectives at the end turned a potentially good story into a great one. In “The Radical” (The Cincinnati Review 11.2), author Brock Clarke also take his story to another

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “All Lateral” by Matt Sumell

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When we speak of a story as “voice-driven,” that typically means it’s written in first person and that the narrator has attitude. Instead of quietly striving towards general objectivity, the narrator—à la Holden Caulfield—gives us a unique angle on the world that keeps our eyes fixed to the page.

The Power of Predation in Literature

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I woke to find the cougar curled at the foot of my bed. Or, at least, I thought I did. I accidentally bumped the sleeping cat with my foot. He rose with a gleam in his eye, arched his back in a dramatic stretch. Heat emanated from his hyper-muscular

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “This Place of Great Peril” by Mel Bosworth

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When we meet the main character of Mel Bosworth’s “This Place of Great Peril” (Hayden’s Ferry Review Fall/Winter 2014), he’s just beginning to suffer from acute oxygen deprivation, or as editor Dana Diehl puts it, the author “drops us on top of the 84th tallest mountain in the world,