short stories

Ghostly, collected and introduced by Audrey Niffenegger

Ghostly: A Collection of Ghost Stories By Audrey Niffenegger Cover Image
$28.00
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ISBN: 9781501111198
Published: Scribner - October 6th, 2015

A collection of ghost stories perfect for dark winter nights, Ghostly features haunted houses, haunted cottages, paintings that move, magic and cats—to name just a few ghastly details, all told by masters of the genre including Poe, M.R James, Kelly Link, Neil Gaiman, P.G. Wodehouse, Saki and Niffenegger herself. Whether you want that sense of creeping unease, full-on scares or a laugh or two there’s something for everyone here. – Paula Longhurst

City of Clowns by Daniel Alarcón & Sheila Alvarado

City of Clowns By Daniel Alarcón, Sheila Alvarado Cover Image
$22.95
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ISBN: 9781594633331
Published: Riverhead Books - November 3rd, 2015

Artist Sheila Alvarado illustrates Daniel Alarcón's moving short story about coming to terms with his philandering father and exploring Lima's vast collection of bizarre street performers. – Kenneth Loosli

Other Books Mentioned in This Piece: 
War by Candlelight: Stories By Daniel Alarcon Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780060594800
Availability: Not on our shelves currently | available to order
Published: Harper Perennial - April 11th, 2006

Eyes by William H. Gass

Following last fall's reissue of his seminal In the Heart of the Heart of the Country, William Gass returns with a new collection of short fiction that looks at how we see things and, more provocatively, how things see us. Some of these stories are narrated by objects—in one story, the narrator is a folding chair in a men's barber shop and it shares its impressions of its fellow chairs and the people who sit on them; in another, the narrator is the piano from Casablanca who dishes about the actors' on-set drama and its life as a film prop. Displaying Gass' usual blend of the profound and the profane, Eyes shows he still has one of the best imaginations in the business. – Kenneth Loosli

Other Books Mentioned in This Piece: 
In the Heart of the Heart of the Country: And Other Stories (NYRB Classics) By William H. Gass, Joanna Scott (Introduction by) Cover Image
By William H. Gass, Joanna Scott (Introduction by)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781590177648
Availability: Not on our shelves currently | available to order
Published: NYRB Classics - November 4th, 2014

The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra

The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories By Anthony Marra Cover Image
$25.00
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ISBN: 9780770436438
Published: Hogarth - October 6th, 2015

The title story of this stunning collection begins dead-center in the book’s 300+ pages. Which is appropriate since it connects the book’s disparate pieces into one dazzling whole. Suddenly you realize what you’re reading is more novel than collection, a sweeping tale of Russian history’s cruel ironies in which memory is the incandescence heart. In the first tale, which takes place in 1937, a failed portraitist whose job is to expunge the images of the disloyal from all paintings and photographs replaces the faces of those he’s supposed to remove with that of his dead brother. The next tale, “The Granddaughters,” is a kind of Greek chorus of village gossip in which the image that doomed our painter is brought to life in the form of a dancer and her progeny, and we are introduced to each of the characters whose intersecting lives people this amazing book from 1937 forward to the era of technology—whether in Kirovsk, high above the Arctic Circle, St. Petersburg, or Chechnya. At its heart are star-crossed lovers whose fates are woven from tale to tale and into our hearts; the love of brothers; and of mothers and fathers. If there is betrayal it is that of the state in a story with the breadth of scope and the depth of feeling of the finest literature. – Betsy Burton and Anne Holman

Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories by China Miéville

You'll find this book in science fiction but these stories truly transcend the genre. When extraterrestrials do appear, they do so in unlikely ways, such as remnants to be rediscovered in an archeological dig. More commonly, Miéville's tales traffic in the uncanny—card games disrupted by the appearance of "hidden suits" (cards that don't exist in the standard 52-card deck), a guardian of religious objects who addresses the idols in his care as if they were alive, the sudden appearance and disappearance of what Hogarth called "shapes of horror." One highlight is "Polynia," a story about the arrival of icebergs floating above London and how this bizarre event affects the lives of a group of schoolboys. Each story offers a glimpse into a different kind of world but Miéville's gift is to keep even his strangest stories rooted in the human experience—his characters are as striking as his inventive plots. Call it speculative fiction, call it weird fiction, call it what you will, this is a remarkable book of literary invention that brings to mind the work of Daphne DuMaurier and J.G. Ballard. – Kenneth Loosli

The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector

The Complete Stories By Clarice Lispector, Benjamin Moser (Series edited by), Katrina Dodson (Translated by) Cover Image
By Clarice Lispector, Benjamin Moser (Series edited by), Katrina Dodson (Translated by)
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ISBN: 9780811219631
Availability: Out of Print
Published: New Directions - August 25th, 2015

Another must-read is Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector’s collection of more than 80 stories, written over her lifetime and reflective of a staggering genius brought to full flower in a translation that refuses to gloss over antic word choices that startle (and often amuse), structure that unravels in exciting ways, particularly in the later tales. Characters, mostly women, hang in limbo, passive and pathetic; take charge, whether bravely or bizarrely; are victims, perpetrators, witnesses of the mundane, the insane and the inane in a world that grows increasingly Kafkaesque. Women rage—overtly or internally—whether at beggars, their families, or a birthday cake. They assess their lives, sometimes coolly amused, as often bemused, face their impending deaths with fear or rage or aplomb in a universe spangled with the improbable, the cruel, the mordantly funny. Lispector, who died of cancer in 1977, muses on everything from a chicken’s egg to love to death, sometimes briskly, sometimes at length, always treading in new territory. This publication brings to the forefront a writer whom Colm Tóibín called “One of the hidden geniuses of the Twentieth Century.” – Betsy Burton

Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson

Fortune Smiles: Stories By Adam Johnson Cover Image
$27.00
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ISBN: 9780812997477
Published: Random House - August 18th, 2015

Adam Johnson's marvelous yet understated short stories put you in the uncomfortable position of identifying with people you may not want to—a husband with a paralyzed wife who derives pleasure only from a holographic version of Kurt Cobain, a victim of sexual abuse who has grown up into a collector of child pornography, a former East German prison warden who still frequents the museum of the prison he used to oversee, a man searching for the mother of his child in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, North Koreans struggling to make a life for themselves in South Korea. In every instance, Johnson slips you into the skin of these characters so fluidly it's impossible not to identify with them in this remarkable collection that proves Johnson's winning the Pulitzer Prize was not a fluke. This is one of the year's must-reads for fans of literary fiction. – Kenneth Loosli

In the Heart of the Heart of the Country by William H. Gass

In the Heart of the Heart of the Country: And Other Stories (NYRB Classics) By William H. Gass, Joanna Scott (Introduction by) Cover Image
By William H. Gass, Joanna Scott (Introduction by)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781590177648
Availability: Not on our shelves currently | available to order
Published: NYRB Classics - November 4th, 2014

When you read In the Heart of the Heart of the Country for the first time, you will wonder why someone didn't tell you about this wintry gem sooner.  One reason may be that, despite being widely acknowledged as a masterpiece of American fiction, it's been in and out of print over the past few decades.  Now the fine folks at NYRB Classics have added it to their lineup of essential reissues in an edition that includes a superb preface by Gass himself wherein he outlines his theory of fiction and his writing process.  It's a great setup for the five stories in this collection, and while each one is excellent in its own right, the main attraction is surely the opener "The Pedersen Kid."  It begins with farmhand Big Hans discovering the Pedersen kid nearly frozen to death in a blizzard.  The kid has dared venture through the snow storm to the Jorgensen farm to seek safety from a stranger he calls "yellow gloves," who, according to the kid, has imprisoned the kid's parents in the cellar.  Now, to save the Pedersens, Hans, Jorge and Jorge's father grudgingly trek through a haunting landscape drowned in snow, an omnipresent and potent substance that evokes the "general snow" of Joyce's "The Dead."  The story is almost a pulp thriller, a suspenseful and violent yarn about heroic efforts thwarted, about the terrible realization that one must do something and the even darker realization that one's efforts may well be futile.  Against this dark perspective, however, stands the brightness of Gass' prose, simply unparalleled in its beauty, fluidity and apt metaphors, which is why more than forty-five years after it was first published, In the Heart of the Heart of the Country still feels fresh today.  — Kenneth Loosli

Other Books Mentioned in This Piece: 
Dubliners: Centennial Edition (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) By James Joyce, Colum McCann (Foreword by), Terence Brown (Introduction by), Terence Brown (Notes by), Roman Muradov (Illustrator) Cover Image
By James Joyce, Colum McCann (Foreword by), Terence Brown (Introduction by), Terence Brown (Notes by), Roman Muradov (Illustrator)
$19.00
ISBN: 9780143107453
Availability: Not on our shelves currently | available to order
Published: Penguin Classics - May 27th, 2014

Eyes by William H. Gass

Following last fall's reissue of his seminal In the Heart of the Heart of the Country, William Gass returns with a new collection of short fiction that looks at how we see things and, more provocatively, how things see us. Some of these stories are narrated by objects - in one story, the narrator is a folding chair in a men's barber shop and it shares its impressions of its fellow chairs and the people who sit on them; in another story, the narrator is the piano from Casablanca who dishes about the actors' on-set drama and its life as a film prop. Displaying Gass' usual blend of the profound and the profane, Eyes shows he still has one of the best imaginations in the business. — Kenneth Loosli

Other Books Mentioned in This Piece: 
In the Heart of the Heart of the Country: And Other Stories (NYRB Classics) By William H. Gass, Joanna Scott (Introduction by) Cover Image
By William H. Gass, Joanna Scott (Introduction by)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781590177648
Availability: Not on our shelves currently | available to order
Published: NYRB Classics - November 4th, 2014