Some people would have you believe that short stories are the literary equivalent of baseball’s minor leagues, a place to hone your skills until you’re ready for a bigger and more prestigious stage. But as masters such as Alice Munro have proven, a great short story is no less of an achievement than a great novel. These four collections demonstrate that a new generation of authors is happy to experiment with the possibilities of the short form.
A large-animal veterinarian, the first female Major League pitcher, Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Like many kids, I had a lot of far-flung ideas about what I wanted to be when I grew up. But what I really wanted to be was my older sister.
Joseph Fink claims he’s calling from a New Jersey beach. I prefer to imagine that his spotty cell reception is actually because he’s calling from a dark bunker in an undisclosed location. That somehow seems more appropriate for a co-author of Welcome to Night Vale, the new novel based on the wildly popular podcast of the same name.
Richard Ford's latest chapter in the life of Frank Bascombe, an inventive novel in two versions and a National Book Award nominee make for great group discussion this month.
Each year since 1915, a volume of Best American Short Stories has been published, offering a selection of the finest short fiction that has appeared in magazines and journals throughout the year. To celebrate the centenary, editors Lorrie Moore and Heidi Pitlor have compiled a best of the best collection, 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories.
Sometimes a character appears in an author’s imagination fully formed. All the writer needs to do is offer him or her a blank page on which to play.
Imagine a world in which the economy has tanked, jobs have dried up, society has crumbled, and people are doing anything and everything they can just to scrape by. For most of us, such a cataclysmic state of affairs is all too easy to envision, which makes Margaret Atwood’s latest dystopian thriller, The Heart Goes Last, all the more unsettling and eerily prophetic.
In 2012, Claire Vaye Watkins burst onto the literary landscape with her prize-winning short story collection, Battleborn. In Gold Fame Citrus, Watkins follows through on her literary promise with an excellent novel, set in a drought-ridden California in a future that feels alarmingly near.
A literary conference might not seem like an obvious setting for mayhem and nonsense, but that’s just what’s on the agenda in Chris Belden’s enjoyable Shriver, in which a lonely man gets invited to a university conference thanks to a case of mistaken identity. Shriver—the wrong Shriver—RSVPs, thinking it a good practical joke, until he’s swept up in the sordid, confusing world of egomaniacal writers and those who adore them.
For nine months The Girl on the Train has been lauded as the best thriller of 2015, but it has some real competition with the arrival of The Killing Lessons, a dark, violent novel from British author Glen Duncan (The Last Werewolf) writing under the pseudonym Saul Black.