Posts by: Claire Burgess

This Week in Short Fiction

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This week, a new Maggie Shipstead story at Virginia Quarterly Review explores love, infidelity, and the ways life can slip from under your feet like an avalanche. Bonus: there is also a literal avalanche. The story, “Backcountry,” follows a twenty-five-year-old ski instructor named Ingrid (#1 baby name for future ski instructors) who meets a fifty-plus-year-old married (he tells Ingrid he’s divorced) man with big dreams of building a ski resort on a nearby mountain.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week, rising voice Emma Horwitz writes about teenage girls looking for some under-the-pants action (if you know what I mean (I’m talking about fingering)) at Vol. 1 Brooklyn. Horwitz’s story, appropriately titled “Fingering,” is a welcome and refreshing addition to the small range of narratives that show teenage girls as the single-minded, sex-mad creatures they sometimes are, because high sex drives aren’t just for boys, you know.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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If you recall your Greek mythology, you’ll remember Cassandra, princess of Troy, priestess of Apollo, seer of prophecies, and patron saint of women everywhere screaming themselves blue but never being heard. Cassandra’s prophecies unfailingly proved to be true, but still she was seen as insane by her family and the Trojan people and, in some versions of the story, often locked away for it.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Tomorrow night, we denizens of planet Earth will gather with friends and family, or with complete strangers at a bar somewhere, or with a mob of people in an over-crowded and freezing square, or we will stay home alone, taking a bubble bath and with a bottle of wine (or two), and enjoy our solitude because we’re so over 2016, and we will all say goodbye to a year that has unanimously been ranked by mankind as a touch worse than the year in which that meteorite wiped out the dinosaurs.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week at Guernica’s newly re-designed website, author Jean McGarry has a short story, “Come to Me,” about an abusive relationship and the tangled dynamics of power and devotion that can hold its victims in place.

That was day four; on day one, I found underwear, not my own, in my underwear drawer.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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In a political climate in which undocumented immigrants are painted as criminals and rapists and half the country is crying for deportation, this week’s story reminds us that immigrants are fathers who love their daughters, who work hard and send money home to dying mothers, who will go to the ends of the Earth for their loved ones—they are normal Americans with normal hearts, just like the rest of us.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week, VICE’s 2016 Fiction Issue is out, with work from exciting voices like Ottessa Moshfegh, Rachel Cusk, Roxane Gay, and more. This year’s fiction issue, like the magazine itself, is an engaging, diverse, and sometimes in-your-face read with topics ranging from smart cars to campus rape, love triangles to the meaning of life.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Motherhood is an all-consuming thing. The sleepless nights, the endless diapers, the undying love, the absurd tasks that must be performed to ease a baby into nap time. But time and energy aren’t the only casualties of motherhood. In our culture, motherhood often demands one’s identity as well, consumes it whole as the woman becomes a public object for fawning over, for scrutinizing, for judging whether she measures up.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Following last week’s election results, the writing world has been full of voices reminding us of the power of words to protest, to heighten awareness, and to effect change. Whether through poetry, essay, memoir, fiction, or otherwise, words are an important vehicle for reaching those who need support, challenging those who need to be called out, bearing witness to injustice, and raising visibility of marginalized groups.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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With Halloween a scant three days away, it’s the perfect time to curl up with some spooky fiction and get yourself delightfully creeped out. But this week’s story doesn’t rely on your standard witches and vampires and werewolves, all easily dismissed and cartoonish Halloween fare.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Sometimes, literary magazines fold. It happens all the time because of funding, or manpower, or editorial differences. Usually, print back issues remain for sale and online content is preserved indefinitely, or at least until someone forgets to renew the domain. But this does not seem to be the case with Black Clock, the respected literary magazine out of CalArts that published the likes of David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Lethem, and Aimee Bender, to name only a few of the prominent talents from its pages.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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What would you give to be happy, fun, anxiety-free? Would you give your soul? This is the question Deirdre Coyle asks in her story “Fun Person,” up at Hobart this week. The story opens with the narrator vomiting on the sidewalk outside of a bar, but not for the obvious reasons one might vomit in such a location.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books from the 80s and 90s? These were the ones in which you, yes you, the reader, were the protagonist of the story. You made the decision to go into the mysterious cave or not, or break into the creepy mansion or not, or attempt to tame the vicious tiger or not.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week, we all need a story with heart and teeth, a story that celebrates the glittering intelligence of women and the power of female friendship and dismantles the patriarchy while also being laugh-out-loud funny, a story with a happy ending.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week (or month) in short fiction (and poetry), it’s National Translation Month! Each September, the National Translation Month (NTM) initiative, started in 2013, celebrates literary works in translation and promotes cross-cultural readership with offerings of exciting new translations on its website.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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For a story in a different medium this week, check out Amber Sparks’s “Thirteen Ways to Destroy a Painting” from this year’s The Unfinished World—adapted to a radio play. It’s brought to your ears by NPR’s truly excellent storytelling podcast Snap Judgment and read by Thao Nguyen of the San Francisco-based folk-rock group Thao and The Get Down Stay Down.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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When The Bennington Review re-launched this past April after thirty years, its first issue packed a table of contents studded with prize-winning authors and exciting emerging voices. This week, to our good fortune, the biannual print publication has made several of its pieces available online, among them new short fiction from Iranian-American writer Porochista Khakpour, author of the acclaimed novels The Last Illusion and Sons and Other Flammable Objects.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Rion Amilcar Scott’s debut collection Insurrections—our July Rumpus Book Club pick—comes out from University Press of Kentucky on Tuesday and is a timely and vital look into the daily struggles of individuals in the mostly black community of Cross River, Maryland, a fictional town that was founded by slaves in 1807 after a successful revolt.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Irish author Danielle McLaughlin didn’t start writing fiction until 2010, but in the years since she has amassed an impressive collection of writing awards, including the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen International Short Story Competition, and has twice placed stories in the New Yorker.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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The summer issue of Asymptote was published this week with a gorgeous spread of short fiction in translation from Spanish, Croatian, Persian, and more. If you’re not already familiar the journal, it publishes English translations of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and more from across the globe (the website cites 105 countries and 84 languages so far) alongside the original text and often accompanied by audio of the author or translator reading an excerpt in the original language, making it a treasure trove for language nerds and literature lovers alike.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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It’s July, and the summer issues of literary magazines are rolling off both the physical and cyber presses, including Virginia Quarterly Review, which this week shared a story from its summer print issue online. In “Dixon” by Bret Anthony Johnston, author of the bestselling novel Remember Me Like This and the award-winning collection Corpus Christi, a father risks border patrol agents and losing his job to illegally sell a shipment of Dairy Queen kid’s meal toys in an effort to save his daughter.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week, Guernica has a new story from author and veteran Odie Lindsey, whose debut story collection about soldiers coming home from war, We Come to Our Senses, will be published by W.W. Norton later this month. Included in the collection, “Bird (on back)” picks up in the middle of a disintegrating relationship between an unemployed diorama artist and his vibrant but terminally ill girlfriend, who before they met contracted a sexually transmitted autoimmune disease from a soldier on leave.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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There’s a new short story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in the world this week, and it’s a Mrs. Dalloway-style imagination of a day in the life of Melania Trump as she plans a dinner party. The story, titled “The Arrangements,” is the New York Times Book Review’s first-ever commissioned piece of fiction (to be followed, for the sake of bipartisanship, by a second story from a different author on the Clintons in the fall).

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week at Recommended Reading, PEN America offers an excerpt from Brazilian author Noemi Jaffe’s novel Írisz: as orquídeas, which is remarkable for many reasons, one of them being that this is so far the only opportunity to read part of the Portuguese-language novel in English translation.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week, Karen Russell of Swamplandia! fame has a new story in The New Yorker that unearths the self-deceptions beneath what we often think is love, and also unearths a body. In “The Bog Girl,” a teenage boy named Cillian digs up the 2,000-year-old body of a girl that has been perfectly preserved by a peat bog and then, with Russell’s classic flair for the imaginative and the creepy, falls immediately in love with her.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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In a darkly humorous new story at n+1, Jen George questions the qualifications of being “adult,” gives thirty-somethings across the world nightmares, and packs in plenty of social criticism while she’s at it. The story, “Guidance/The Party,” follows a single, childless, career-less, 33-year-old woman who is visited by a mysterious Guide.

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This Week in Short Fiction: Goodnight, Beautiful Women by Anna Noyes

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[Noyes's] stories are nuanced and unapologetic, revealing the shadow sides of women and girls in all their wild and terrible glory. ...more