Before January 2018

Short Stories from before January 2018

We’ll always be reading the Paris Review, and other literary magazines from various countries and/or continents. So whilst you might find those on our currently reading they will not show up here.

The Fahrenheit Twins by Michel Faber

Short Story collection  Palestine’s Children: Returning to Haifa and other Stories by Ghassan Kanafani.

Impressive short story writing, chilling topic, foreign experiences brought in a haunting way. I had never heard of Kanafani until reading an interview with Elias Khoury. I’m glad I went out of my way to obtain a copy of this book. Unbelievable this short story collection (some with returning characters though, a bit like Hemingway’s Nick Adam) has been around for so long. The stories are timeless and contemporary at the same time.

Short story collection The awakening and selected Stories by Kate Chopin

Judgement is always a conclusion of momentum and past experiences. So despite this being highly acclaimed, and despite having read it with pleasure and interest, I have read many better stories in my life.


Short Story collection The New Yorker Stories by Ann Beattie. – Great short stories, to be read one at a time, say, one a week.


Short story collection Drown by Junot Díaz

Amazing collection of short stories, also on the Best Books we Read.

This has to do with the voice, like having someone bump into you in the street who mistakenly takes you for someone he/she knows well and starts telling you what happened. The rhythm, the language, the flow, the characters, so smooth and chunky, so desolate and hopeful, desperate and dealing with it. Like a rollercoaster ride reading.


Short Story collection In the Country by Mia Alvar

A collection of short stories about Filipinos, both in the Philippines and elsewhere (say Bahrain or US). The author covers 9/11, Martial Law, Aquino and everything in between. The stories aren’t really short, more like little novels. Her writing is so captivating, so evoking, so real life that I found myself fact-checking, surely something so real must be…well, real?

Kudos and big chapeau – I have spent the months that followed recommending this book to anyone able to read, and buying it as a present for the podcast authors.

Short Story collection The collected Stories of Amy Hempel

Every word counts, even those that haven’t been written down. What a joy to read. Trues, some just don’t ring with me, maybe because I’m from a different culture, or because I don’t necessarily love dogs. A book to return to, to catch my breath and awe.


Short Story collection Having said goodnight  – by Pierre J. Mejlak (Malta)

Short Story collection The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway  by Ernest Hemingway

Short Story collection The Granta Book of the African Short Stories by Helon Habila (editor)  – the sole reason I set out to read more African authors.

Short story collection Paris Stories by Mavis Gallant

What a magnificent read. The book had been on the TBR list for so long I couldn’t even remember who Gallant was, and why this book was there.

The writing is sublime, the stories so well crafted I was hardly noticing I was reading. The settings are real, the dilemmas good. Now, this is not a contemporary book as most stories are set either after World War II (giving me a great, new, never explored idea of those neglected emotions and relationships in the days of rebuilding a –hopefully- better Europe) and some even before the war. The moral, if there is any, and the human behavior is sliced and examined like a loving scientist would do: with a compassionate expert eye for detail.


Short Story collection Can’t and Won’t: Stories  by Lydia Davis

Short Story Collection Selected Stories by Katherine Mansfield

Short Story collection (Dutch) Er moet iets gebeuren (Dutch) by Maartje Wortel

Heerlijke korte verhalen. Allen anders en zeer indringend qua “voice”. De karakters zijn direct mensen van vlees en bloed, hun belevenissen hebben daarmee al bestaansrecht.

See also: lists

Short Story collection Leaving the Sea by Ben Marcus

Turns out Ben Marcus is a great short story writer who also has clever things to say about lots of things. Check for example the interview with short story writer George Saunders


Short Story collection Arrival of the Snake-Woman and Other Stories by Olive Senior

Had I been doubtful before, this collection convinced me once and for all. This is a lovely book. You can find it on my Best Books Read. Not one story let me down, the language being so painting and colourful, the stories being so clever, so understandable yet not open-doorish. Having been to Jamaica (many years ago) and off the beaten track (and loving it without questioning it) these stories found fertile soil.

Short Story collection Dear Life by Alice Munto

Short Story collection What we talk about when we talk about Anne Frank  by Nathan Englander.

Confession: this website would not exist if I had not, accidentally, bought this book, thinking it was a novel. I used to “not like” short stories. This book proved I was wrong.