Short fiction is incredibly hard to write. All the more reason to ooh and aah over every great short story, whether published in a literary journal or as a collection. I have a personal fascination with the linked short story, though that’s for my own writing purposes.
About a year ago, this towering stack of books represented every short story collection still in my to-be-read pile. For an author like Mavis Gallant, I bought a collection of all her work. For a debutante like Dieuwke Van Turenhout, I snatched up a copy of her short story collection as soon as it launched.
Since then, I’ve been working hard to read as much short-form fiction as I do the long-form. I now have enough reviews that I must make order out of this chaos. So here, by continent, is a list of my short-form fiction reviews, which now includes a separate category for novellas.
Just a Family Thing: A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin
Port William: That Distant Land: The Collected Stories by Wendell Berry
Interstitial Spaces: Can’t and Won’t by Lydia Davis
Original Sin: This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz
By the Seashore: The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr
The Art of the Story: The Art of the Story edited by Daniel Halpern
Talk Story: This Is Paradise by Kristiana Kahakauwila
Ribbons: Her Body & Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
Empty Pasture in Afternoon: The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra
Cow People: Half in Love by Maile Meloy
Vietnam: The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
Fractured Fairy Tales: You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian
Red Stick Festival: Buckskin Cocaine by Erika Wurth
Judge Dee: The Chinese Nail Murders by Robert van Gulik
Kawaakari: Palm-of-the-Hand Stories by Kawabata Yasunari
No Heroes: Drifting House by Krys Lee
Ghost City: Hong Kong Noir edited by Jason Y. Ng and Susan Blumberg-Kason
Carrots & Kiwis: Revenge by Yoko Ogawa
New Vietnam: Wild Mustard: Voices from New Vietnam edited by Charles Waugh, Nguyen Lien, and Van Gia
German Fables: The Marquise of O– and Other Stories by Heinrich von Kleist
Children’s Hour: Field Study by Rachel Seiffert
Irish Rovers: Mothers and Sons by Colm Tóibín
Quiet Desperation: Last Stories by William Trevor
Circus Animals: Olifanten warm houden by Dieuwke van Turenhout
A Little Savage: The Collected Stories of Katherine Mansfield by Katherine Mansfield
Wicked: This Taste for Silence by Amanda O’Callaghan
Here’s a new category of what I’ll call short form fiction: the novella. Sometimes the term has been chosen by the author to describe her work. In other instances, I’ve opted for this designation based on the slimness of the volume. You decide whether this makes sense.
Poor Nick: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Another Singapore: If I Could Tell You by Jing-Jing Lee
Cheating: Multiple Choice by Alejandro Zambra