In the title story of J. Robert Lennon’s new collection of short fiction—a book 15 years in the making—a man stumbles, surreally, into a kind of dream job on a tropical island, only to sense that something’s not quite right.
Elephant Beach used to sparkle. Before the boardwalks rotted and the hotels and mansions along the bay boarded up their windows, there were ballrooms, parties, dancing. Now, the town smells of cigarettes. The streets are filled with drugs. Haunting screams accompany moonlight as traumatized veterans relive pieces of Vietnam in their sleep.
Spoiled Brats is ridiculous in the very best way. It’s a short story collection that avoids the usual pitfalls because the stories work well together and don’t lose steam as they go along. A common theme (spoiled rich kids, mostly) keeps these stories cohesive, and author Simon Rich holds our interest with a unifying style—each chapter is very funny, and they’re all based on a different outlandish premise.
Southern writer Tony Earley’s excellently written and highly readable Mr. Tall consists of six stories and a short novella. The characters are a mix of country folks and city people, except for the novella, which contains a mix of real people and mythical characters. Mostly, the stories are about how men and women meet and how they live out their lives together.
“We all forget things,” says a character in one of the four engaging novellas Mary Gordon collects in The Liar’s Wife. “We must.” Yet despite this sage observation, it is really the act of remembering past associations that serves as a common thread in this beautifully-rendered book. Gordon writes about young, intelligent women and men in the throes of self-discovery at formative junctures in their lives.
Chestnut Street in Dublin, Ireland, is shaped like a horseshoe, with a “big bit of grass in the middle beside some chestnut trees,” and “thirty small houses in a semicircle.” These houses are inhabited by scores of fascinating human beings, however ordinary, who figure in these stories by Maeve Binchy, written between novels. Now, after her death in 2012 at 72, they are finally being published.
The characters in the compelling stories novelist and screenwriter Francesca Marciano collects in The Other Language are displaced—both geographically and in matters of the heart. Mostly women, but a few men as well, they are educated, well-heeled and discontent, adrift in an ever-contracting world that has clouded the notion of home.
In a reversal of the normal career arc, Tom Barbash has waited 10 years after the publication of his first novel to produce a short story collection. The 13 stories of Stay Up with Me are both contemporary and timeless, and reveal Barbash as a writer of abundant talent when it comes to short fiction.From the opener, “The Break,” where the ultimate helicopter mother attempts to...
For many, Hawaii conjures up images of grass skirts and fruity cocktails in a bucolic setting. But in today’s modern world, is this paradise only a myth? The short story collection This Is Paradise, from author Kristiana Kahakauwila, answers that question. Kahakauwila, a native Hawaiian raised in Southern California, explores the reality of life for Hawaiian locals in an impressive debut....
When does an idea become a conviction, love become an obsession, interest become a passion? When do we shift from engagement to foolish fixation? In the six connected stories of her new collection Fools, Joan Silber—whose 2005 linked story collection, Ideas of Heaven, was a National Book Award finalist—tackles these questions head-on, uncovering the price we pay for our beliefs, our...