fiction (short)

short story collection
Short story collection to be read. Photo credit: Karen Kao

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

Smoking: The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez

The Art of the Story: The Art of the Story edited by Daniel Halpern

Talk Story: This Is Paradise by Kristiana Kahakauwila

Oo-rah: Redeployment by Phil Klay

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

The Storyteller: Dear Life by Alice Munro

Vietnam: The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

Fractured Fairy Tales: You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian

Mini review: I Hold a Wolf by the Ears by Laura van den Berg

Red Stick Festival: Buckskin Cocaine by Erika Wurth

Mini review: Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang


Mini-review: Land of Big Numbers by Te-Ping Chen

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

A Sly Wit: A Thousand Years of Good Prayers by Yiyun Li

Ghost City: Hong Kong Noir edited by Jason Y. Ng and Susan Blumberg-Kason

In Limbo: The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

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.

Esperanza: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Mini-review: The Lover by Marguerite Duras

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