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Thread: Short Stories.

  1. #1
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    Default Short Stories.

    I recently read Labyrinths (Borges) and Father Sergius (Tolstoy) and it was incredibly refreshing after clinging to novels for an extended period. There's something really satisfying about someone being able to tell a story that cleanly, to hold off the sprawl and lay it all out in just a few pages.

    I've got a bunch of stuff tucked away in a list, but I'd be interested in hearing any favourites people might have.

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    Big fan of the short story which is enjoying a renaissance at present. Here's a small selection that i have read recently.

    David Hayden - Darker with the Lights on is great: this one would appeal to those here who like the uncanny: https://granta.com/the-unspoken/

    Wendy Erskine - Sweet Home - contemporary stories from Northern Ireland: This is teh start of her first story in that collection https://www.thejournal.ie/readme/sho...25946-May2018/

    Samantha Schweblin - Mouthful of Birds - South American, surrealism: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine...zation/576430/

    Chris Power - Mothers: https://www.faber.co.uk/blog/read-sh...y-chris-power/

    Deborah Eisenberg - Twilight of the Superheroes: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1...-82nd-airborne

    Lucia Berlin - a Manual for Cleaning Women - amongst the best short stories i have read in years: https://www.shortstoryproject.com/st...leaning-women/

    there's all the american greats - James Salter, Carver, Yates but I think the best of them is Grace Paley - this is almost perfect: https://biblioklept.org/2014/03/08/wants-grace-paley/

    Obviously all the nineteenth century experts like Chekhov, Flaubert, Maupassant but again possibly the best of those is Katherine Mansfield. Also Kate Chopin. And DH Lawrence's short stories are much better than his novels.

    Two good recent collections by small presses - Attrib by Eley Williams and Show Them A Good Time – Nicole Flattery.

    also Lydia Davis who writes very short stories, almost aphorisms at times.

    Finally - if you're interested in the short story Jonathan Gibbs, teh writer has a weekly newsletter where writers recommend their favourite short stories. https://apersonalanthology.com/

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    Rick Bass - For a little while
    The masterpiece of the collection is ‘The Hermit’s Story’. A couple caught in a violent arctic storm are trapped at the edge of a frozen lake. Venturing out from the shore the man vanishes from sight when the ice cracks beneath him. What follows is so eerily bizarre that it seems at first to be fantasy. The frantic woman peers down and sees the man waving, not swimming: beneath the surface, the water has drained away, and the pair cross the dry lake bed beneath a roof of thick blue ice. Huddled under the frozen surface are birds, sheltering in pockets of air to survive. The story glitters like an ice sculpture, dazzling, unforgettable.

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    one of my fave short stories is 'the soft touch' which is in the 'acide house' by irvine welsh. i just really like the economy of it - there's only about 5 pages but it's saying so much and the characters are really well drawn. just really good writing. when they made the acid house film they totally fucked it up

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    Chekhov - The Lady with the Dog, The Bishop, The Student, The Two Voldoyas
    Mauspassant - Boule de Suif, La Maison Tellier, The Horla
    Kafka - A Hunger Artist, In the Penal Colony
    Joyce - The Dead, A Painful Case, An Encounter
    Flaubert - A Simple Heart

    From what I've read, Chekhov is the best short story writer and 'The Dead' is the best story.
    Last edited by Corpsey; 05-04-2019 at 02:07 PM.

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    nathanael west "a cool million", the Horatio Alger satire that's just fucking unrelenting. better known for "the day of the locusts" (a classic tale of Hollywood) and "miss lonelyhearts".

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    We could do a short story club, definitely more doable than a book club.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Corpsey View Post
    'The Dead' is the best story
    That last line is something else.

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    Has anyone read Barthelme? I keep seeing him pop up in relation to short stories, but I haven't gotten round to him yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by version View Post
    Has anyone read Barthelme? I keep seeing him pop up in relation to short stories, but I haven't gotten round to him yet.
    He's terrible. Steer well clear and disregard the Pynchon foreword. I can't overemphasise how distasteful it is. The worst kind of cutesy postmodernism. Makes Ashberry seem sympathetic. Burn it and bury the ashes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    The worst kind of cutesy postmodernism.
    I got that impression from descriptions of The Balloon, but I might give him a go anyway. Which stuff of his have you read?

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    What do you mean? I've read some of his short stories. In a book.

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    It will come as no surprise to Luka that I like Barthelme - just I like DFW’s short stories and Hemingway’s.

    Alice Monroe is pretty much the modern genius. Angela Carter obvs. Doris Lessing.

    Great essay in Charles Baxter’s Burning Down the House about The Dead.

    Clare Louise Bennett’s Pond and Zambra’s my Documents both published by Fitzcarraldo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jenks View Post
    #Angela Carter obvs.


    & Isaak Babel

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