short story Archive

Long and Short of It

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In the term short story, “short” is a little baggy. You might find, within a collection of short stories, some that are a few pages, some that are thirty or more. Compared to a five-hundred-page novel, of course, neither of these is a long piece of writing. Both are

Fiction Responding to Fiction: Anton Chekhov and Joyce Carol Oates

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Joyce Carol Oates’s story “The Lady with the Pet Dog” is a clear response to Anton Chekhov’s classic story “The Lady with the Little Dog.” Almost 75 years separate the two stories, and Oates, though her modifications, clearly modernizes the story, retelling the story through a feminist lens. Chekhov’s

The Art of the Sad Birthday

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Are you a writer looking for a situation with built-in irony and ample opportunities for subtext? Have you considered a melancholy birthday scene? I’ve collected a few merciless examples for consideration. “Referential,” by Lorrie Moore Moore dives into the irony of the sad celebration in the first paragraph of

Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Wagyu Fungo” by Soon Wiley

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I remember a conversation I had with a professor in grad school, where we discussed the various blessings and difficulties of trying to produce art using the same materials—language—used for so many other, less graceful, purposes (for example, junk mail and mudslinging). In “Wagyu Fungo,” (Harpur Palate) explores a

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Sudden Squall” by Judy Reeves

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Leaving one’s spouse takes a lot of courage, and in the culture of the 1950s, that was even more the case. In “Sudden Squall” (Connotation Press), Judy Reeves explores a mother making that difficult choice, employing a particular sentence structure to shape the thematic content and reveal her protagonist’s character. Two

Postcards from Unexpected Places

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Like long handwritten letters and atlases, postcards descend from another world now deemed impractical. They belong to the world of Denis Breen in James Joyce’s Ulysses and Loyal Blood and his travels across the American West in Annie Proulx’s Postcards. Ruth, in Lorrie Moore’s story “Real Estate,” finds the

It Never Rains on National Day: an interview with writer Jeremy Tiang

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  Jeremy Tiang is a fiction writer, playwright, and translator from Singapore. His short story collection It Never Rains on National Day was published by Epigram Books in 2015, and is available at Epigram Books’ website. He lives in Brooklyn and was recently featured in the Singapore Writers Festival. We caught

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “How to Eat Chicken Wings” by Kristen Arnett

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Flannery O’Connor wrote, “The longer you look at one object, the more of the world you see in it.” In her second-person flash fiction piece “How to Eat Chicken Wings,” (Tin House/The Open Bar) Kristen Arnett takes a long look at the object in her title, and what’s revealed

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Golden Land” by Sunisa Nardone

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The ways in which we humans find our sense of community and identity—nationality, race, religion, class, family etc.—are often also what make connecting with people that don’t share our backgrounds more difficult. Sunisa Nardone’s “Golden Land” (Atlas and Alice) explores the many obstacles facing strangers struggling to connect while awaiting

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Davenports and Ottomans” by Stefanie Freele

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Throughout our youth we’re hard-wired to look to the adults in our lives for ideas of who we want to be. Who we are, though, often seeks to establish itself in spite of those desires. Stefanie Freele’s flash fiction piece “Davenports and Ottomans” (Tahoma Literary Review Vol. 2, No.