Best dating short story collections of all time

best dating short story collections of all time

Get now the Best short stories of all time, including The Museum of Dr. Moses, Gorilla, My Love, Gaza Writes Back: Short Stories from Young Writers in Gaza, Palestine and 63 other top solutions suggested and ranked by the Softonic Solutions user community in 2018 The Museum of Dr. Moses: Tales of Mystery and Suspense is a collection of short stories written by Joyce Carol Oates, a Rea Award recipient in 1990. With over 200 pages, this book is published in 2007 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Books.

best dating short story collections of all time

“What are the best Short Story Collections Of All-Time??” We looked at 382 of the top books, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question! The top 25 titles, all appearing on 3 or more “Best Short Story” book lists, are ranked below by how many times they appear. The remaining 350+ books, as well as the lists we used, are in alphabetical order on the bottom of the page. Happy Scrolling!

Top 25 Short Story Collections 25 .) Lists It Appears On: • Av Club • Goodreads • Long Beach Public Library “Imogene is young, beautiful . . . and dead, waiting in the Rosebud Theater one afternoon in 1945. . . . Francis was human once, but now he’s an eight-foot-tall locust, and everyone in Calliphora will tremble when they hear him sing. . . . John is locked in a basement stained with the blood of half a dozen murdered children, and an antique telephone, long since disconnected, rings at night with calls from the dead.

. . . Nolan knows but can never tell what really happened in the summer of ’77, when his idiot savant younger brother built a vast cardboard fort with secret doors leading into other worlds. . . . The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past. . . .” 24 .) Lists It Appears On: • Book Riot • Paste Magazine • Spectator “A Manual for Cleaning Women compiles the best work of the legendary short-story writer Lucia Berlin. With the grit of Raymond Carver, the humor of Grace Paley, and a blend of wit and melancholy all her own, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday, uncovering moments of grace in the Laundromats and halfway houses of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Bay Area upper class, among switchboard operators and struggling mothers, hitchhikers and bad Christians.

Readers will revel in this remarkable collection from a master of the form and wonder how they’d ever overlooked her in the first place.” 23 .) Lists It Appears On: • Bust • Scottic Book Trust • Paste Magazine “Her stories may be literal one-liners: the entirety of “”Bloomington”” reads, “”Now that I have been here for a little while, I can say with confidence that I have never been here before.”” Or they may be lengthier investigations of the havoc wreaked by the most mundane disruptions to routine: in “”A Small Story About a Small Box of Chocolates,”” a professor receives a gift of thirty-two small chocolates and is paralyzed by the multitude of options she imagines for their consumption.

The stories may appear in the form of letters of complaint; they may be extracted from Flaubert’s correspondence; or they may be inspired by the author’s own dreams, or the dreams of friends.

What does not vary throughout Can’t and Won’t, Lydia Davis’s fifth collection of stories, is the power of her finely honed prose. Davis is sharply observant; she is wry or witty or poignant. Above all, she is refreshing. Davis writes with bracing candor and sly humor about the quotidian, revealing the mysterious, the foreign, the alienating, and the pleasurable within the predictable patterns of daily life.” 22 .) Lists It Appears On: • Ranker • Goodreads • Listverse “A collection of fourteen dark tales, Everything’s Eventual includes one O.

Henry Prize winner, two other award winners, four stories published by The New Yorker, and “Riding the Bullet,” King’s original ebook, which attracted over half a million online readers and became the most famous short story of the decade.

Two of the stories, “The Little Sisters of Eluria” and “Everything’s Eventual” are closely related to the Dark Tower series. “Riding the Bullet,” is the story of Alan Parker, who’s hitchhiking to see his dying mother but takes the wrong ride, farther than he ever intended. In “Lunch at the Gotham Café,” a sparring couple’s contentious lunch turns very, very bloody when the maître d’ gets out of sorts.

“1408,” the audio story in print for the first time, is about a successful writer whose specialty is “Ten Nights in Ten Haunted Graveyards” or “Ten Nights in Ten Haunted Houses,” and though Room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel doesn’t kill him, he won’t be writing about ghosts anymore.” 21 .) Lists It Appears On: • Book Riot • Knopf Doubleday • Paste Magazine In these nine globe-trotting tales, Mia Alvar gives voice to the women and men of the Philippines and its diaspora.

From teachers to housemaids, from mothers to sons, Alvar’s stories explore the universal experiences of loss, displacement, and the longing to connect across borders both real and imagined. In the Country speaks to the heart of everyone who has ever searched for a place to call home—and marks the arrival of a formidable new voice in literature. 20 .) Lists It Appears On: • Ranker • Cool Material • Publishers Weekly Jesus’ Son is a visionary chronicle of dreamers, addicts, and lost souls.

These stories tell of spiraling grief and transcendence, of rock bottom and redemption, of getting lost and found and lost again. The raw beauty and careening energy of Denis Johnson’s prose has earned this book a place among the classics of twentieth-century American literature. 19 .) Lists It Appears On: • Book Riot • Goodreads • Ranker Night Shift—Stephen King’s first collection of stories—is an early showcase of the depths that King’s wicked imagination could plumb.

In these 20 tales, we see mutated rats gone bad (“Graveyard Shift”); a cataclysmic virus that threatens humanity (“Night Surf,” the basis for The Stand); a smoker who will try anything to stop (“Quitters, Inc.”); a reclusive alcoholic who begins a gruesome transformation (“Gray Matter”); and many more. This is Stephen King at his horrifying best. 18 .) Lists It Appears On: • Goodreads • Huffington Post • Ranker The Stories: A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut, Just Before the War with the Eskimos, The Laughing Man, Down at the Dinghy, For Esme — With Love and Squalor, Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes, De Daumier-Smith’s Blue Period, and Teddy.

17 .) Lists It Appears On: • Bust • Ranker • Scottic Book Trust Award-winning filmmaker and performing artist Miranda July brings her extraordinary talents to the page in a startling, sexy, and tender collection. In these stories, July gives the most seemingly insignificant moments a sly potency. A benign encounter, a misunderstanding, a shy revelation can reconfigure the world.

Her characters engage awkwardly—they are sometimes too remote, sometimes too intimate. With great compassion and generosity, July reveals their idiosyncrasies and the odd logic and longing that govern their lives.

No One Belongs Here More Than You is a stunning debut, the work of a writer with a spectacularly original and compelling voice. 16 .) Lists It Appears On: • Book Riot • Goodreads • Scottic Book Trust Stories of Your Life and Others delivers dual delights of the very, very strange and the heartbreakingly familiar, often presenting characters who must confront sudden change—the inevitable rise of automatons or the appearance of aliens—with some sense of normalcy.

With sharp intelligence and humor, Chiang examines what it means to be alive in a world marked by uncertainty, but also by beauty and wonder. An award-winning collection from one of today’s most lauded writers, Stories of Your Life and Others is a contemporary classic.

15 .) Lists It Appears On: • Acton Memorial Library • Long Beach Public Library • Acton Memorial Library The Best American Short Stories 2017 casts a vote for and celebrates all that is our country.

Here you’ll find a man with a boyfriend and a girlfriend, naval officers trapped on a submarine, a contestant on America’s Funniest Home Videos, and a gay man desperate to be a father—unforgettable characters waiting for an outcome, burning with stories to tell. 14 .) Lists It Appears On: • Book Riot • Goodreads • Ranker “One of the most terrifying stories of the twentieth century, Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” created a sensation when it was first published in The New Yorker in 1948.

“”Power and haunting,”” and “”nights of unrest”” were typical reader responses. Today it is considered a classic work of short fiction, a story remarkable for its combination of subtle suspense and pitch-perfect descriptions of both the chilling and the mundane.

The Lottery and Other Stories, the only one to appear during Shirley Jackson’s lifetime, unites “”The Lottery”” with twenty-four equally unusual short stories. Together they demonstrate Jackson’s remarkable range — from the hilarious to the horrible, the unsettling to the ominous — and her power as a storyteller.” 13 .) Lists It Appears On: • Book Riot • Bust • The Guardian In these twelve dazzlng stories, the bestselling, award-winning Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie explores the ties that bind men and women, parents and children, Africa and the United States.

Searing and profound, suffused with beauty, sorrow, and longing, these stories map, with Adichie’s signature emotional wisdom, the collision of two cultures and the deeply human struggle to reconcile them. 12 .) Lists It Appears On: • Goodreads • Ranker • Long Beach Public Library Welcome to the Monkey House is a collection of Kurt Vonnegut’s shorter works.

Originally printed in publications as diverse as The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and The Atlantic Monthly, these superb stories share Vonnegut’s audacious sense of humor and extraordinary range of creative vision. 11 .) Lists It Appears On: • Bust • Cool Material • Huffington Post • Ranker Already an award-winning writer, ZZ Packer now shares with us her debut, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere.

Her impressive range and talent are abundantly evident: Packer dazzles with her command of language, surprising and delighting us with unexpected turns and indelible images, as she takes us into the lives of characters on the periphery, unsure of where they belong. We meet a Brownie troop of black girls who are confronted with a troop of white girls; a young man who goes with his father to the Million Man March and must decides where his allegiance lies; an international group of drifters in Japan, who are starving, unable to find work; a girl in a Baltimore ghetto who has dreams of the larger world she has seen only on the screens in the television store nearby, where the Lithuanian shopkeeper holds out hope for attaining his own American Dream.

10 .) Lists It Appears On: • Cool Material • Goodreads • Publishers Weekly • Ranker James Joyce’s Dubliners is a vivid and unflinching portrait of “dear dirty Dublin” at the turn of the twentieth century. These fifteen stories, including such unforgettable ones as “Araby,” “Grace,” and “The Dead,” delve into the heart of the city of Joyce’s birth, capturing the cadences of Dubliners’ speech and portraying with an almost brute realism their outer and inner lives.

Dubliners is Joyce at his most accessible and most profound, and this edition is the definitive text, authorized by the Joyce estate and collated from all known proofs, manuscripts, and impressions to reflect the author’s original wishes.

9 .) Lists It Appears On: • Book Riot • Bookstr • Cool Material • Paste Magazine “Throughout these six stories, Pulitzer Prize winner Adam Johnson delves deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal, giving voice to the perspectives we don’t often hear.

In “Nirvana,” a programmer whose wife has a rare disease finds solace in a digital simulacrum of the president of the United States. In “Hurricanes Anonymous,” a young man searches for the mother of his son in a Louisiana devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. “George Orwell Was a Friend of Mine” follows a former warden of a Stasi prison in East Germany who vehemently denies his past, even as pieces of it are delivered in packages to his door.

And in the unforgettable title story, Johnson returns to his signature subject, North Korea, depicting two defectors from Pyongyang who are trying to adapt to their new lives in Seoul, while one cannot forget the woman he left behind.” 8 .) Lists It Appears On: • Bustle • Goodreads • Paste Magazine • Book Riot “She has been hailed by Michael Chabon as “the most darkly playful voice in American fiction” and by Neil Gaiman as “a national treasure.” Now Kelly Link’s eagerly awaited new collection—her first for adult readers in a decade—proves indelibly that this bewitchingly original writer is among the finest we have.

Link has won an ardent following for her ability, with each new short story, to take readers deeply into an unforgettable, brilliantly constructed fictional universe. The nine exquisite examples in this collection show her in full command of her formidable powers.

In “The Summer People,” a young girl in rural North Carolina serves as uneasy caretaker to the mysterious, never-quite-glimpsed visitors who inhabit the cottage behind her house. In “I Can See Right Through You,” a middle-aged movie star makes a disturbing trip to the Florida swamp where his former on- and off-screen love interest is shooting a ghost-hunting reality show. In “The New Boyfriend,” a suburban slumber party takes an unusual turn, and a teenage friendship is tested, when the spoiled birthday girl opens her big present: a life-size animated doll.

Hurricanes, astronauts, evil twins, bootleggers, Ouija boards, iguanas, The Wizard of Oz, superheroes, the Pyramids . . . These are just some of the talismans of an imagination as capacious and as full of wonder as that of any writer today. But as fantastical as these stories can be, they are always grounded by sly humor and an innate generosity of feeling for the frailty—and the hidden strengths—of human beings.

In Get in Trouble, this one-of-a-kind talent expands the boundaries of what short fiction can do.” 7 .) Lists It Appears On: • Av Club • Cool Material • Goodreads • Huffington Post Hailed by Thomas Pynchon as “graceful, dark, authentic, and funny,” George Saunders gives us, in his inventive and beloved voice, this bestselling collection of stories set against a warped, hilarious, and terrifyingly recognizable American landscape.

6 .) Lists It Appears On: • Av Club • Bustle • Cool Material • The Guardian This acclaimed, bestselling collection also contains the celebrated stories that inspired the Pedro Almodóvar film Julieta. Runaway is a book of extraordinary stories about love and its infinite betrayals and surprises, from the title story about a young woman who, though she thinks she wants to, is incapable of leaving her husband, to three stories about a woman named Juliet and the emotions that complicate the luster of her intimate relationships.

In Munro’s hands, the people she writes about–women of all ages and circumstances, and their friends, lovers, parents, and children–become as vivid as our own neighbors.

It is her miraculous gift to make these stories as real and unforgettable as our own. 5 .) Lists It Appears On: • Av Club • Ranker • Scottic Book Trust • Book Riot • Goodreads Fragile Things is a sterling collection of exceptional tales from Neil Gaiman, multiple award-winning (the Hugo, Bram Stoker, Newberry, and Eisner Awards, to name just a few), #1 New York Timesbestselling author of The Graveyard Book, Anansi Boys, Coraline, and the groundbreaking Sandman graphic novel series.

A uniquely imaginative creator of wonders whose unique storytelling genius has been acclaimed by a host of literary luminaries from Norman Mailer to Stephen King, Gaiman’s astonishing powers are on glorious displays in Fragile Things.

Enter and be amazed! 4 .) Lists It Appears On: • Bookstr • Goodreads • Ranker • Scottic Book Trust • The Guardian “One of the most important and blazingly original writers of his generation, George Saunders is an undisputed master of the short story, and Tenth of December is his most honest, accessible, and moving collection yet. In the taut opener, “Victory Lap,” a boy witnesses the attempted abduction of the girl next door and is faced with a harrowing choice: Does he ignore what he sees, or override years of smothering advice from his parents and act?

In “Home,” a combat-damaged soldier moves back in with his mother and struggles to reconcile the world he left with the one to which he has returned. And in the title story, a stunning meditation on imagination, memory, and loss, a middle-aged cancer patient walks into the woods to commit suicide, only to encounter a troubled young boy who, over the course of a fateful morning, gives the dying man a final chance to recall who he really is.

A hapless, deluded owner of an antiques store; two mothers struggling to do the right thing; a teenage girl whose idealism is challenged by a brutal brush with reality; a man tormented by a series of pharmaceutical experiments that force him to lust, to love, to kill—the unforgettable characters that populate the pages of Tenth of December are vividly and lovingly infused with Saunders’s signature blend of exuberant prose, deep humanity, and stylistic innovation.

Writing brilliantly and profoundly about class, sex, love, loss, work, despair, and war, Saunders cuts to the core of the contemporary experience. These stories take on the big questions and explore the fault lines of our own morality, delving into the questions of what makes us good and what makes us human.” 3 .) Lists It Appears On: • Book Riot • Cool Material • Goodreads • Ranker • The Guardian • Long Beach Public Library Navigating between the Indian traditions they’ve inherited and the baffling new world, the characters in Jhumpa Lahiri’s elegant, touching stories seek love beyond the barriers of culture and generations.

In “A Temporary Matter,” published in The New Yorker, a young Indian-American couple faces the heartbreak of a stillborn birth while their Boston neighborhood copes with a nightly blackout. In the title story, an interpreter guides an American family through the India of their ancestors and hears an astonishing confession. Lahiri writes with deft cultural insight reminiscent of Anita Desai and a nuanced depth that recalls Mavis Gallant. She is an important and powerful new voice.

2 .) Lists It Appears On: • Book Riot • Bustle • Cool Material • Goodreads • Knopf Doubleday • Ranker In his second collection, including the iconic and much-referenced title story featured in the Academy Award-winning film Birdman, Carver establishes his reputation as one of the most celebrated short-story writers in American literature—a haunting meditation on love, loss, and companionship, and finding one’s way through the dark.

1 .) Lists It Appears On: • Bookstr • Book Riot • Bustle • Cool Material • Goodreads • Huffington Post • Ranker • Scottic Book Trust “From the award-winning author, a stunning collection that celebrates the haunting, impossible power of love.

On a beach in the Dominican Republic, a doomed relationship flounders. In a New Jersey laundry room, a woman does her lover’s washing and thinks about his wife. In Boston, a man buys his love child, his only son, a first baseball bat and glove. At the heart of these stories is the irrepressible, irresistible Yunior, a young hardhead whose longing for love is equaled only by his recklessness–and by the extraordinary women he loves and loses.” Long Beach Public Library 99 Blasphemy Sherman Alexie Book Riot 100 Bloodchild and Other Stories Octavia Butler Book Riot 101 Bobcat and Other Stories Rebecca Lee Book Riot 102 Books of Blood, Volumes 1-3 Clive Barker Listverse 103 Brief Interviews with Hideous Men David Foster Wallace Ranker 104 Brooklyn Noir.

MYS Acton Memorial Library 294 The Ladies of Grace Adieu Susanna Clarke Ranker 295 The Life to Come and Other Stories E. M. Forster Ranker 296 The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven Sherman Alexie Goodreads 297 The Loss of All Lost Things Amina Gautier Book Riot 298 The Love Object Edna O’Brien Book Riot 299 The Magic of Blood Dagoberto Gilb Book Riot 300 Scottic Book Trust 368 We Should Never Meet Aimee Phan Book Riot 369 What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us Laura van den Berg Book Riot 370 When You Are Engulfed in Flames David Sedaris Ranker 371 Where I’m Calling From Raymond Carver Ranker 372 Wild Stars Seeking Midnight Suns J Cooper 20 Best Short Story Collection Sources/Lists Source Article A Selected List of Short Story Collections Favorite Short Stories Collection The 10 best short-story collections of the ’00s 100 MUST-READ SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS Ten Short Story Collections to Fit Into Your Busy Schedule 10 Short Story Collections Written By Women To Add To Your Reading List 11 Short Story Collections Your Book Club Will Love Discussing 15 Short Story Collections Every Guy Should Read Popular Short Story Collection Books Brevity Has Its Advantages: 9 Astounding Short Story Collections 8 Story Collections So Good They’ll Leave You Wanting More Top 10 Spine Tingling Short Story Collections SELECTED SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS 10 Essential Short Story Collections The 10 Best Short Story Collections The Best Collections of Short Stories 25 Great Short Story Collections from the 21st Century so far The best short story collections — from childish gabbling to jaded nihilism 5 Must-Read Short-Story Collections The 10 best short story collections


best dating short story collections of all time

best dating short story collections of all time - The 50 Best Short Stories of All Time


best dating short story collections of all time

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The stories that feature in this round-up range from sentence-long sketches to almost novel-length narratives, with little in the way of thematic or stylistic consistency to add some unity to an already fractured genre.

In these tales we find ourselves moving from the tortuous puzzle-parables of Danilo Kiš to the playful portraits of library-goers in Ali Smith’s Public Library, then from the harrowingly bleak worlds imagined by Ottessa Moshfegh in Homesick for Another World to the equally gloomy but markedly more masculine worlds of Haruki Murakami’s Men Without Women. Here, we’ve included recently published collections from contemporary authors as well a handful of new collections from some 20th century greats like Kiš, Jean Rhys and one of the genre’s masters, Franz Kafka.

​Viet Thanh Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American author whose 2015 novel The Sympathizer won the Pulitzer Prize. In The Refugees, his first collection of short stories, he deals with the ever-topical subject of exile, though, as with most short story writers, he is less concerned with the loftier questions of his chosen subject than with the more personal stories of the individuals it encompasses. Thus we find in the first story a refugee woman who has made a successful career for herself as ghostwriter, but cannot stop dreaming of her brother who died on the boat journey to the US, and in another, a young Vietnamese refugee discovering an overdue outlet for his suppressed homosexuality.

Nguyen’s fluent portrait of the many faces of exile makes for a touching and timely read. 2. Public Library and Other Stories by Ali Smith: £8.99, Penguin Ali Smith’s latest book, Public Library and Other Stories, reads as a celebration and defence of not just libraries but of books themselves.

From reading them to buying them, from memorising poems to just browsing bookshelves, Smith’s characters both exhibit and extol a passion for books. However, Public Library also serves as a warning: between each of her stories Smith draws attention to the mass closure of libraries in the UK, providing the reader with gloomy but increasingly plausible glimpses of a post-library Britain.

In Smith’s own words: “Because libraries have always been part of a civilization they are non-negotiable” – and almost everything about the stories in this collection, from the language to the characters to the narratives themselves, functions as a defence of this philosophy.

For adamant bookworms British or otherwise, Public Library is one of the must-reads of recent short fiction. 3. The Collected Short Stories by Jean Rhys: £9.99, Penguin Modern Classics Jean Rhys was a Dominican-born British writer who was better known for her longer works, especially her novel Wide Sargasso Sea which she wrote as a prequel to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.

This new Penguin edition collects all of her stories – stories in which she deals with diverse but almost exclusively sombre topics such as suicide, alcoholism, loneliness, lovelessness and poverty.

The stories span several geographical as well as thematic frontiers – wherever her characters go they find little but callous characters in impersonal cities where women are ignored or maligned, expected to “grow another skin or two” and “sharpen” their “claws” if they want to get on.

Among the more solemn of recent short story collections, this book fully exhibits Rhys’s extraordinary talent for prose without which these sullen stories would be unreadable.

4. Russian Émigré Short Stories from Bunin to Yanovsky: £12.99, Penguin Classics According to Vladimir Nabokov, Russian literature enjoyed a brief golden age from the mid-nineteenth century until 1917, whereupon it was blown apart in the chaos of revolution and civil war.

With its particles settling in cities like Berlin and Paris (and some other non-European cities, like Harbin and Shanghai), it underwent a similarly brief renaissance before drifting into a prolonged but no less beautiful twilight.

This newly translated collection of émigré stories features many of the most famous authors who laboured to keep Russian literature breathing after it had been uprooted and replanted on opposite sides of a continent. Famous writers like Nabokov and Ivan Bunin feature, as well as some other lesser-known writers like Sasha Chorny, and in this collection we find these writers dealing with such disparate topics as anguish, terror, joy, love and, of course, the longing for a lost Russia – what Nabokov once called the “pangs of exile”.

5. Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh: £16.99, Jonathan Cape Ottessa Moshfegh is an American writer whose novel Eileen was shortlisted for last year’s Man Booker Prize. Eileen is a bleak and unhappy novel, following an eponymous protagonist who longs to escape the oppressively dreary life in her hometown of “X-ville”. With its near unrelenting focus on all that is bad, Eileen often skirts close to misanthropy, and we find similar preoccupations in Homesick for Another World, where Moshfegh’s characters find themselves trapped in the most unglamorous American backcountries, ensnared in loveless relationships and tormented by anxiety, drugs, poverty, sickness and innumerable other afflictions that would make these stories a struggle to read if it weren’t (as with Rhys) for Moshfegh’s unquestionable command of the English language.

6. Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami: £16.99, Harvill Secker Haruki Murakami needs little introduction: a literary sensation abroad as much as in his native Japan, he has won multiple international awards for his novels such as Norwegian Wood and 1Q84. In a 2004 interview with The Paris Review, Murakami remarked that one of the best things about writing books “is that you can dream while you are awake”. The dreamlike quality of the stories in Men Without Women is undoubtedly one of its chief attractions.

Murakami’s womenless men live in perpetual daydreams, a state of mind often prompted by a loss of some kind. In one story, for example, an ageing plastic surgeon grows obsessed with a younger, idealised woman whose perfection causes him to fade, quite literally, into nothingness.

Murakami’s latest is a hypnotising study of male loneliness. 7. The Encyclopedia of the Dead by Danilo Kiš: £9.99, Penguin Classics Danilo Kiš was a Serbian writer who lived through the worst of the 20th century.

Born into a Jewish family, he survived the Holocaust and with the end of the war found himself living, studying and working in the capital of Tito’s newly consecrated communist republic, the federal Yugoslavia. In Belgrade he established his literary reputation, occasionally incurring the party’s displeasure for his fiction (for the story “Simon Magus”, included in this new collection, Kiš was disqualified from a literary competition on the grounds that he was slyly critiquing the politburo).

In the brief but informative introduction to this new collection by Penguin, the translator Mark Thompson justly compares many of Kiš’s stories with those of the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges, whose awareness of history, fondness for short fiction and talent for writing meandering prose puzzles we find mirrored in Kiš.

This new collection is an exquisite and appropriate tribute to one of Central Europe’s more neglected writers. 8. The Burrow by Franz Kafka: £9.99, Penguin Modern Classics Much has been made of Franz Kafka’s bizarre and, given his early death from tuberculosis, possibly fatal, daily routine whereby he would sacrifice his much-needed sleep for the sake of his writing.

Scribbling through the small hours he often awoke despising his compositions, but as the stories in this newly translated collection demonstrate, this rigorous nightly regime did bear fruit. Many of the stories in The Burrow follow solitary creatures – men, women, heroes, gods, monsters and even rodents – who find themselves trapped in the same worlds that we recognise from his more famous works: worlds that are monotonous, terrifying, dreary and, most prominently in this collection, dark and obscure.

From forty-page narratives to paragraph-long vignettes, this newly translated collection captures the full breadth of Kafka’s nocturnal imagination. 9. 99 Stories of God by Joy Williams: £10, Tuskar Rock Despite their brevity, short stories are often considerably denser than novels. Packed with meaning and often intentionally elusive, it is often difficult to read a collection cover to cover and Joy Williams’s latest collection of stories is exactly this type.

Williams is an American writer whose novels and story collections have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and several other prestigious awards. The bizarre 99 Stories of God is full of Kafka-style micro-fictions that take minutes, hours or even days to properly process.

Williams’ paragraph- or sentence-long “stories” are unusually inscrutable, lacking entirely in narrative and often austere in language. The source of their allure is puzzling, but it is strangely fulfilling to decipher a story’s meaning after it has been sitting in the back of your mind for some time (which they do). One of the more curious recent collections, 99 Stories of God is a clever if occasionally frustrating exercise in short fiction.

10. The Man Who Wouldn’t Get Up and Other Stories by David Lodge: £8.99, Vintage David Lodge is often touted as the quintessential British post-war novelist: facetious but not fatuous, irreverent but not iconoclastic, wry, perceptive and inhumanly industrious.

Since his 1960 debut novel, The Picturegoers, he has published dozens upon dozens of novels, essays, memoirs, screenplays and short stories – many of which make their way into this newly published collection by Vintage. As with Murakami, Lodge’s preoccupations in these stories tend to be masculine, though not exclusively. The stories deal with the tumult and mysteries of relationships in a style at once serious and farcical (to one story – a modern reimagining of Robert Brownings’ poem “My Last Duchess” – he gives the title “My Last Missis”).

This collection shows Lodge at his most playfully imaginative. The Verdict: Short story collections Many of the short story’s greatest practitioners have been better known for their longer works. Some, like Vladimir Nabokov, seemed to think very little of the genre, regarding it as a constricted form, and more a means to an end than a full-time artistic occupation. Contrary to this line of thought, among literary forms the short story is unique for its versatility – and the books collected here attest to that.

and are particular standouts, but the variety of style and subject matter in these collections makes it difficult to choose just one. In many of the stories we find the authors dealing with the dreary and absurd worlds that we lazily describe as “Kafkaesque” (“that woolly watchword”, according to Martin Amis); in others, like , we encounter markedly more upbeat, celebratory tales, and in others still we find masterly writers like Danilo Kiš and Sasha Chorny rescued from undue neglect.

Given the quality and originality of many of the stories collected here, we can see that the short story as a genre is as healthy and dynamic as ever. Follow IndyBest on and IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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best dating short story collections of all time

Photograph: Neil Bennett This Isn’t the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You Jon McGregor (2012) The best short stories should haunt you for days and weeks. The stories in McGregor’s collection have stayed with me for months on end. They are linked by a unity of place – the fenlands of Norfolk and Cambridge – and by precise, elegant prose that elevates everyday occurrences into small, perfectly rendered pieces of art.

As Maggie O’Farrell put it in her Guardian review: “The stories wrap themselves around the wholly disconcerting premise that catastrophes can rear up in anyone’s life without warning.” Photograph: Sophie Bassouls/Sygma/Corbis Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? Raymond Carver (1976) Possibly the most economical short story writer in this list, Carver, with his precise, punchy prose, conveys in a few words what many novelists take several pages to elucidate.

In stories such as “Fat” and “Are You a Doctor?” he writes with flat understatement about suburban disenchantment in mid-century America. The collection – shortlisted for the National Book prize – was written during what Carver called his “first life”, when he almost died of alcoholism.

His “second life” started in 1977, when he gave up drinking with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous. Photograph: Tim Knox Tenth of December George Saunders (2013) Winner of last year’s inaugural Folio prize for fiction, Saunders is, according to Entertainment Weekly, “the master of joy bombs: little explosions of grin-stimulating genius that he buries throughout his deeply thoughtful, endlessly entertaining flights of imagination”.

Stories such as “Victory Lap” demonstrate his deftness of touch in mixing humour and humanity, as well as showcasing his technical brilliance, incorporating several different points of view in a contained space. And “Sticks”, little over a page in length, is one of the most moving stories I’ve ever read. Photograph: Rex The Thing Around Your Neck Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2009) Adichie had written two novels set in her native Nigeria before this collection. It shifts her gaze to the US in 12 stories that explore the experiences of husbands and wives, parents and children, immigrants and permanent residents.

The title story delves into the loneliness suffered by a Nigerian girl who moves to an America far removed from her imaginings. A wise and emotive writer, in this collection Adichie touches on her familiar themes of exile, cultural miscommunications and the human desire to reconcile internal and external worlds. Photograph: Canadian Press/Rex Runaway Alice Munro (2004) The Canadian writer won the Nobel prize for literature in 2013 for her extraordinary work as “master of the contemporary short story”.

She also won the 2009 Man Booker International prize for her lifetime body of work and has been called a modern-day Chekhov. Runaway is among her best collections and displays all of Munro’s mastery: the effortless shifts in time, sometimes across decades; the ability to convey an entire life in a few pages; the exploration of complex truths in uncomplicated language.

Photograph: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images The Garden Party and Other Stories Katherine Mansfield (1922) This collection was first published in 1922, a year before Mansfield’s death at the age of 34 from tuberculosis.

A pioneering modernist writer, Mansfield was born and brought up in colonial New Zealand before moving to Britain, where she became friends with DH Lawrence and Virginia Woolf. The title story, one of her best-known works, is written in the modernist style, with the deceptively simple setting of a family preparing for a garden party. Against this backdrop Mansfield brilliantly interweaves meditations on class, life and death, illusion and reality.

Photograph: Richard Saker/Rex Features Pulse Julian Barnes (2011) Barnes is best known as a novelist and won the Man Booker prize in 2011 for The Sense of an Ending. As a result, his short stories are rather overlooked and shouldn’t be.

Pulse is Barnes’s 17th book and is a masterclass in the shorter form. He is brilliant at evoking social nuance and has an unfailing eye for the tiniest detail that will shine light on the whole. Two particularly wonderful examples from this collection are “Complicity”, about the delicate beginnings of a love affair, and “East Wind”, about a relationship between an estate agent and a foreign waitress.

Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Observer The Collected Stories Lorrie Moore (2008) This deliciously fat collection gives the reader the chance to dip in and out of one of the best observers of human behaviour. Moore is notable for her arch tone and her sharp humour. But what makes her special is the way she can shift so smoothly to gut-wrenching poignancy. She writes about terminal illness, family dynamics and infidelity with equal fluency.

A particular favourite from this volume is “How to Be an Other Woman” from her first published collection, Self-Help (1985), which was composed almost entirely of stories from her master’s thesis. Interpreter of Maladies Jhumpa Lahiri (1999) This debut collection of nine stories won the Pulitzer prize shortly after it was published in 1999 and was named the New Yorker’s debut of the year. The stories, written with what Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times described as “uncommon elegance and poise”, deal with the diversity of Indian-American immigrant experience and the curious alchemy of love and relationships.

My particular favourite in this collection is “A Temporary Matter”, a beautiful mediation on grief, love and loss as a couple try to come to terms with the stillbirth of their child. That Glimpse of Truth David Miller (ed) (out 23 October 2014) Some of the best short stories contain unexpected moments of felicity on which the plot pivots. And so it was that, just as I was compiling this list, I received a giant package containing this doorstep of a book.

It might be the most comprehensive collection of short stories… ever, featuring an all-star cast including Angela Carter, Charles Dickens, Roald Dahl and more, selected by David Miller, a literary agent and author.


Short Story Collections
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