short story Archive

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Night Island” by Mary Helen Specht

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I’m a believer that some story shapes lend themselves more readily to pieces of different lengths. The shape of Mary Helen Specht’s story, “Night Island” (Prairie Schooner, Winter 2014), is risky and surprising, and might not work as well in a longer story or novel. But it’s what allows
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The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Taxonomy” by Alix Ohlin

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The opening sections of Alix Ohlin’s wonderful short story “Taxonomy,” (TriQuarterly 146) shows how a simple plot can open into a compelling mystery through just a few quick descriptions. In the first scene, the narrator Ed stops at a roadside Amish gift shop to try to find an appropriate
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The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Optimism” by Angie Kim

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In Richard Bausch’s classic short story, “What Feels Like the World,” the looming grief over a mother’s death is conveyed through an impending vault at an elementary school gymnastics demonstration. In Amy Hempel’s classic, “When It’s Human Instead of When It’s Dog,” the tragic death of a spouse is
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The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Third World Kroger” by Greg Schreur

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Some stories only get better—the more you read, the more you see. Greg Schreur’s opening lines in “Third World Kroger” set catastrophe front and center: “My wife needs more flour for another cake. Since our son Michael was taken and killed about six months ago, she bakes a lot
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Lit GIFs: The Tell-Tale Heart

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So it’s almost Halloween. Which means jack o’ lanterns and costumes and pumpkin-spiced everything. And, of course, Edgar Allan Poe, reigning king of high-school-English-textbook darkness. Cask of Amontillado, anyone?
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Huizache: The Biggest Little Secret in Texas

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As far as literary journal subscriptions go, I only maintain three. I’m one of those writers, and for my sins I mostly miss the great early pieces of writers I come to love years later. This is especially true of new Latina/o writers, who I think most people miss
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The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Come to Bratislava!” by Benjamin Reed

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I knew I was into Benjamin Reed’s story “Come to Bratislava!” in Big Fiction when the main character, a forty-three year old man named Edgar, makes an observation about the phrase “You are my rock.” I’ve never liked this way of articulating someone’s importance and essentiality—hearing it uttered usually
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The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Three Small Town Stories” by Dinah Cox

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I’ve recently become friends with a new handful of people, and out of this group, one woman in particular. Then, over the last weekend, I got to see some old friends from grad school, and in talking about our lives and the new people we’ve met since we graduated,
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The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Creative Writing Instructor Evaluation Form” by April Wilder

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Last week I came into the office where I work, sat down, ate an enormous bagel, and laughed so hard that the guy sitting behind me wheeled his chair over to my desk and said, “What’s so funny?” I pointed at my screen where April Wilder’s story “Creative Writing
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The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “We Are Here Because of a Horse” by Karin C. Davidson

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In Issue 34 of Passages North, Karin C. Davidson introduces us to Tulsa, in her story “We Are Here Because of a Horse,” by writing that “Tulsa by night shines like a shattered gold watch.” I’ve arrived in Tulsa much the way her narrator and his wife approach the city
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