This week, C Pam Zhang has a flash fiction story at The Offing that is maybe about vampires but probably about girls, Chinese girls in particular. “Are They Vampires, or Are They Just Chinese?” is written in five brief paragraphs of atmospheric prose that is beautiful and barbed at the same time, like cotton candy wrapped around a railroad spike, or like girls....more
Posts Tagged: short story
First, Ruby Hansen Murray explores the surreal landscapes of historic Native American locations turned educational tourist hotspots in the Saturday Rumpus Essay, as she journeys with the Osage Nation Historical Preservation Department to Cahokia, the site of an ancient agrarian culture in now-Illinois, among camera-carrying tourists and young field-trippers....more
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....more
I may be a sixteen-year-old German-Irish girl living in flat Ohio, but West Side Story is a chute I slide down, and every day I’m a little more Marisol, working in a west-side dress shop and kissing Pepe on the fire escape.
At Necessary Fiction, Anna Rowser’s story “Breaking Down” effectively uses the subject of recycling as a metaphor to subtly explore what the narrator wants, needs, uses, reuses, and casts off both physically and emotionally. It’s fiction that makes you rethink what you’ve been throwing away:
Despite her best efforts, she was doing little to hold back that day when there would be no more land left to fill.
At WhiskeyPaper, Linda Niehoff writes briefly and beautifully about fire and magic, hinting at post-apocalyptic worlds with lines like, “We’d spent long evenings sewing together old bedsheets and nightgowns, the last pillowcase.”
“Elsewhere” brings to mind Ray Bradbury and autumn nights, and is best read in one sitting....more
At The Millions, Naa Baako Ako-Adjei discusses reading Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl” through the lens of her relationship with her own mother growing up, and her new understanding of the story fifteen years later:
In my rereading of “Girl,” I also realized that I never noticed how transgressive the story is.
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....more
Over at The Story Prize blog, Lynne Stegner, whose new collection, For All the Obvious Reasons, came out with Arcade Publishing in June 2016, has an apt description of narrative compression and the exquisite burden of the short story form:
So everything that has come before this final scene must be already distilled within character, emblematized in a handful of causatively related events, or even left just out of reach and merely glimpsed in the imagination, or metaphorically presumed, the way you can almost feel the muscles of large birds as they fly overhead.
I’m going to eat my breakfast, then I’m going to go write up my murder report on two beefs, and then I’m going to fill out my usual nothing-happened-this-week report and send it to the state of Wyoming to be filed with the rest of such reports.
It would not be so bad to drown, would it?
There is the seal, bloated and rotten.
And her father and mother in their caskets.
And herself, what would she be?
“Ah, Señor Jesus. ¿Qué se queda, Señor? ¿Qué se queda?”
There is no answer but the beating of the water on the shore.
That is not to say that normal books will decline. Of course they won’t. There will always be a place for big, satisfying stories to burrow through. But it seems that the rise of short stories are partly caused by our falling attention spans.
“Kipling,” says a psychiatrist friend of mine, “was always pretending to be something other than he actually was—which was a 10-year-old boy.” His work, the best of it, has a boy’s barbarism and a boy’s conservatism. “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” succeeds so spectacularly because it is, in a sense, written by that 10-year-old boy—by little Teddy, the quietest character in the story but the one with whose special boyish loves and terrors the narrative is saturated.
On Monday, Gawker held a live-chat interview with Rivka Galchen about her new short story collection, American Innovations....more