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Short Stories: Solitude and Loneliness

Five short stories—by Anton Chekhov, Katherine Mansfield, Bharati Mukherjee, Anthony Doerr, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie—explore various isolation, solitude, and loneliness pathologies from the perspectives of different lives and cultures.

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Short Story Author Larry Brown's Big Love for His Small Characters

Although his works evoke Charles Bukowski, Flannery O'Connor, Carson McCullers, and William Faulkner, Larry Brown's unapologetic characters were always his own.

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'The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories'

Jhumpa Lahiri's picks for The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories may betray her sympathies. She has no problem with this.

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'The Sea Cloak and Other Stories' and the Everyday Life of Gaza's Embattled Residents

In The Sea Cloak and Other Stories, Nayrouz Qarmout's deft, descriptive prose offers beautiful vignettes of Palestinians struggling to build lives and hope.

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Short Stories: Siblings

Whatever the plot lines of a work of fiction, if it features siblings as important characters, various rich themes are mined. This issue of Short Stories brings forth the sibling-inspired works of Martha Bátiz, K Anis Ahmed, Jenny Zhang, Lidudumalingani, and Kseniya Melnik.

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Short Stories: Tales of Love in Later Life

In the works of Elizabeth Taylor, Toni Cade Bambara, Lucia Berlin, Amy Bloom, and Yiyun Li, we meet older women protagonists who find potential later-life loves in all kinds of interesting ways.

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Ted Chiang's 'Exhalation' Calmly Stares Oblivion in the Face

With his second collection of short stories, Exhalation, master of existential science fiction Ted Chiang explores AI, time travel, and alternate realities with the studious eye of an anthropologist.

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Short Stories: Journeys

The protagonists in these short stories by Asako Serizawa, Nanjil Nadan, Goli Taraghi, Stephen King, and John Cheever are unsettled, vulnerable, and unmoored during their journeys.

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Speculation and Responsibility in 'A People's Future of the United States'

Speculative futures should go beyond merely reflecting the fears peddled by news and social media. Anthology A People's Future of the United States at times pushes those boundaries.

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Short Stories: Animals, Part II

The selected stories this month have a touch or more of surrealism and their writers — Daniel Mallory Ortberg, Sarah Hall, Robert Olen Butler, Beth Goder, and Jackie Kay — explore the humanity of our species and our relationships with other living species.

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'The Story Prize: Fifteen Years of Great Short Fiction'

Shape, time, and beautiful vision from some of the best short story collections of the 21st century are collected in The Story Prize: Fifteen Years of Great Short Fiction.

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Short Stories: Animals, Part I

Animals of all kinds have featured in fiction for as long as we have produced fiction. Here are five engaging stories about cats, dogs, herons, and cows by Sarah Orne Jewett, P. G. Wodehouse, R. L. Maizes, Parashar Kulkarni, and R. O. Kwon.

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Irresistible Dark Visions and Sentimental Longing in 'You Know You Want This'

Short story collection You Know You Want This, a PopMatters' Pick, brings forth a dozen brilliant and beautifully unapologetic dark visions from fearless new writer, Kristen Roupenian.

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Bringing Forth the Male Gaze in 'Preeto & Other Stories'

The male writers in the anthology, Preeto & Other Stories, have been selected because each wrote extensively, if sometimes idealistically and sentimentally, about women.

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Short Stories: Women in the Workplace

Lucia Berlin, Na'am al-Baz, Mia Alvar, Hananah Zaheer, and Laura van den Berg share the seldom-told stories of women's lives in the blue- and white-collar worlds.

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Short Stories: The 12 Best Collections of 2018

Short Stories columnist Jenny Bhatt presents the finest of this year's short stories collections from a wide range of authors that have no fear of pushing the boundaries.

Film

The Coen Brothers Tackle Short Story in Film Again with 'The Ballad of Buster Scruggs '

Not their first foray into bringing the short story form to cinema, the Coen Brothers' The Ballad of Buster Scruggs affirms, sadly, that in this regard, cinema is the lesser storytelling form.

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Immediacy and Identity in '​PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2018'

PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2018 is a primarily strong effort where the voices represent a tempting sample of some potentially great literary careers just beginning.

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Chronicling the Non-Event: Anton Chekhov and the Short Story

Chekhov is engaging with an underlying, rumbling, non-event that pervades life and yet is nearly always blithely ignored. His stories move us in their ability to excavate this subterranean, haunting static that informs all experience.

Books

'The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories' Is a Perfect Balance of Classic and Modern

The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories is not merely another college lit anthology, but a fascinating collection of short stories from all periods and from several authors who all too rarely make it into English translation.

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Short Stories: Parties

Five memorably unique parties presented by Katherine Mansfield, Banaphool (tr. Arunava Sinha), Joshua Ferris, Nina McConigley, and Kirsten Valdez Quade.

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'Half Gods' and Painful Fragments

In debut short story collection Half Gods, Akil Kumarasamy gives us the painful fragments of her characters' experiences with care, as if she is handing us shards of broken glass.

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Jeffrey Eugenides' 'Fresh Complaint': Visions of Life, Love, and Desire

Fresh Complaint is a strong short story collection that will complement fans of Eugenides's novels and introduce another generation to his humorous, profound, humane worlds.

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Short Stories: American Writers of South Asian Origin

In the US in this year alone there have been new short story collections by at least five fine writers with origins in the Indian subcontinent: Vandana Singh; Akil Kumarasamy; Neel Patel; Chaya Bhuvaneswar; and Anita Felicelli.

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Robert Aickman's 'Compulsory Games' and the Art of the Miserably Fascinating Short Story

Aickman's ability to imbue in the mundane a hint of the supernatural pushes these stories from the utterly average into absorbing, fascinating territory.

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'A Lucky Man' Offers a Bounty of Wonders

Jamel Brinkley's A Lucky Man is an excellent debut short story collection about manhood, relationships, family, and identity.

Books

Difficult Wonders in Joyce Carol Oates' 'Beautiful Days'

Of these short story jewels, Oates displays her greatest strengths in "Fractal", and the effects are profoundly strange and moving in ways that only she can seem to execute.

Books

Short Stories: Characters Inspired by People in Politics

These five short stories — by Roxane Gay, Jeff VanderMeer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, George Saunders, and Curtis Sittenfeld — fictionalize the personal lives of American presidents, a wannabe president, and a president's spouse.

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'The World to Come' Proves Jim Shepard Is a Literary Magician

Disasters, loss, unrequited love, and survival instincts are all found in this remarkable short story collection spanning many eras and locations.

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A. M. Homes' 'Days of Awe' and the Art of Writing Dialogue

Each story here could well be a masterclass in the art of writing dialogue as Homes employs it throughout to do much more than simply reveal character or move the story along.

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In 'Night Beast', Joffre Pens Nefarious Worlds That Embrace the Lurid and Fantastical

Ruth Joffre has a talent for making the macabre playful but ultimately Night Beast is disenchanting.

Books

Short Stories: Women in Translation

To celebrate Women in Translation month, we bring short stories (and a novel that's like a collection of short stories) by women in translation: Olga Tokarczuk; Sayaka Murata; Mahasweta Devi; Malika Moustadraf; Dorthe Nors.

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On Roxane Gay's Republished Short Stories 'Ayiti' and the Stifled Norms of the Publishing Industry

Perhaps some gatekeepers are realizing that the challenging short story form proves a writer's chops and future longevity with more certainty than a debut novel.

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Nowhere Is a Place in Tatyana Tolstaya's 'Aetherial Worlds'

The short stories in Aetherial Worlds poignantly merge past, present, and fantasy through auto-fiction, essayistic pieces, and allegorical tales.

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Short Stories: Refugees

These five stories poignantly convey the lives of refugees from different parts of the world. Our authors in this installment are Viet Thanh Nguyen, Guadalupe Nettel, Bernard Malamud, Choi Jin-young, and Mohsin Hamid.

Books

We Go to William Trevor's Works to Look for Ourselves and to Understand Others

Posthumous collection Last Stories proves that Trevor, as a short story writer, was a master in command of his craft and will remain in a class of his own.

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