Here’s a long post on short stories.
When I suggest short story writers to readers the idea is rarely met with enthusiasm. Lately I’ve been adding a disclaimer, as in “These are short stories, but ….”
Many fiction authors write in both the long and short form but their shorter works are often overlooked, as if a shorter story can’t stand on it’s own. Is it because as soon as you’ve gotten into the story, poof!, it’s over, and you’re left feeling abandoned? Perhaps, but there are some great short fiction writers worth at least investigating.
William Trevor’s Selected Stories was on everyone’s short list as one of the best books of 2010.
The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards (2009) by Robert Boswell has some wonderfully gritty writing in it. I suggest the title story, “Miss Famous” and “City Bus.“
Jhumpa Lahiri’s collection Unaccustomed Earth (2008) are emotionally gripping stories about parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends. Read as a whole, the mood is a bit sad, but her writing is beautiful.
Then there are anthologies. Who could resist Lorrie Moore, Bobbie Ann Mason, John Updike, Paul Auster, Robert Bly and Joyce Carol Oates all in one place? This particular anthology has the longest title in the free world so click on the image below left for what’s between the covers. Here are other anthologies worth your time: PEN/O.Henry Prize Stories, Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize XXXII, or My Mistress’s Sparrow is Dead (love stories, of course).
The New York Times Book Review recently covered three new story collections. Roxana Robinson recommended author Edith Pearlman. The Library owns How to Fall, a 2005 collection. Also favorably reviewed were collections by Charles Baxter and Colm Toibin.
One final plug for short stories — we have a growing collection of single stories on audio. These are usually between 30 to 45 minutes in length and are great for shorter commutes.