- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 31: “The Witness for the Prosecution” by Agatha Christie
Chirstie’s story, which was later adapted by the author for the stage and by Billy Wilder for film, is exemplary of her patented twist endings.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 30: “The Alps” by Colin Barrett
Canadian-Irish writer Colin Barrett is a wizard with language that sings with the rhythms and cadences of the working class.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 29: “Peach Cobbler” by Deesha Philyaw
Philyaw’s story is set at the intersection of race and class, and focuses on a mother’s attempts to shield her daughter from pain by systematically denying her pleasure.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 28: “Hotel Tango” by Cora Siré
In this story about a man’s assignation with a married woman, the chaos and culture of Buenos Aires serve as metaphors for the couple’s incompatibility.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 27: “Sin” by Cynthia Ozick
The ninety-four-year-old author’s story, about art and failure, is charged with typically graceful and metaphorical language.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 26: “The Fate of the Son of the Man on the Horse” by Rawi Hage
Hage’s story of a doomed, ineffectual man is a layered consideration of religion, history, and the nature of celebrity.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 25: “Ordinary Love Song” by Alex Pugsley
Pugsley resurrects a seldom-used literary form – the epistolary story – and repurposes it for the internet age.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 24: “June Bugs” by Kim Fu
Fu’s three-part story fuses realism with fabulist elements.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 23: “The Journal” by Stanislaw Lem; Antonia Lloyd-Jones, trans.
A story that takes up philosophical questions about the nature of creation and the paradoxes inherent in a divine creator becomes a more straightforward SF tale in its final moments.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 22: “Raw Material” by A.S. Byatt
Byatt’s story, about a creative writing teacher and a promising older student, contains a submerged lesson about how to write worthwhile literature.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 21: “Theft” by Katherine Anne Porter
Porter’s suggestive and imagistic style lends her story an acute psychological insight.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 20: “Glory” by Janice Lynn Mather
This story, about a teenage girl sent to live with her grandmother during the final months of her pregnancy, is about a struggle between conflicting notions contained in the title.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 19: “Happy Birthday” by Clarice Lispector; Katrina Dodson, trans.
From the woman who many consider to be Brazil’s greatest writer, a story about the family party from hell.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 18: “A Man Becomes a Nazi” by Anna Seghers; Margo Bettauer Dembo, trans.
Seghers’s story, about the conditions necessary for an unhappy man to become radicalized, holds pressing lessons for our current historical moment.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 17: “Once Removed” by Alexander MacLeod
Like Alice Munro, MacLeod has the ability to build whole lives in a compressed space and to subtly shift a story’s focus and meaning without apparent effort.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 16: “A Cup of Cold Water” by Edith Wharton
Wharton’s story is an examination of the vacuity that attaches to the wealthiest strata of society and one man’s unsuccessful attempt to climb the social ladder.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 15: “Little Miss Marker” by Damon Runyon
Set in a mythical Depression-era New York City, the story centres on a bookie who becomes an unwitting father figure to a young girl who is offered as a marker on a bet.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 14: “Devotion” by Sharon English
English’s story excavates the chasm that exists between two halves of a couple, a gulf that is exposed by the death of the pair’s dog.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 13: “Dread” by Clive Barker
Barker’s psychologically tense story examines the price we pay for confronting our darkest fears.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 12: “The Stunt” by Michael LaPointe
In this chilly story, three men do battle for the soul of a fifteen-year-old film star.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 11: “Come and Get Your Ice Cream, Motherfuckers” by Francine Cunningham
An ice cream truck driver faces mental anguish resulting from his inability to escape the incessant jingle of his vehicle’s music.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 10: “A Distant Episode” by Paul Bowles
In a prelude to his iconic novel, Bowles offers up a tale of a hubristic
American academic who has the tables turned on him during a trip to North Africa.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 9: “An Orchid, Blooming” by Kathy Friedman
In Friedman’s story, family secrets, like orchids, flourish in darkness.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 8: “A Survey of Recent American Happenings Told Through Six Commercials for the Tennyson Clearjet Premium Touchless Bidet” by Omar El Akkad
In a brief and barbed satire, Giller winner Omar El Akkad links our current geopolitical malaise with the capitalist impulse to sell stuff.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 7: “Lost in a Pyramid, or The Mummy’s Curse” by Louisa May Alcott
The author of Little Women was also an aficionado of “blood and thunder,” a mode represented in this story about grave robbing and its attendant consequences.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 6: “The Trap” by Luigi Pirandello; Giovanni R. Bussino, trans.
Pirandello’s story takes up the writer and dramatist’s great theme: the instability of identity and the untrustworthy nature of physical reality.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 5: “Sexy” by Jhumpa Lahiri
Lahiri’s story excavates the emotional toll on a woman who is carrying on an affair with a married man.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 4: “The Kitchen Boy” by Alaa Al Aswany; Humphrey Davies, trans.
This story from the noted Egyptian author interrogates toxic power dynamics within institutions.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 3: “The People Across the Canyon” by Margaret Millar
Millar’s story, ostensibly a psychological drama, is in fact a trenchant satire on the pernicious attractions of a particular kind of American dream.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 2: “Little Green Men” by Elaine McCluskey
Set in a tiny fishing village on Canada’s east coast, the story limns the distance between fact and supposition.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022, Day 1: “The Dead Are More Visible” by Steven Heighton
One of the author’s best, this story interrogates the notion of societal visibility through the prism of a middle-aged-woman working as a labourer flooding ice rinks in the middle of the night.
- 31 Days of Stories 2022: Introduction
If the novel is a regal lion king, the short story is a cackling hyena.
- “You have to sign the same deal if you want to be good”
Alexander MacLeod’s new collection is out in April.
- June bugs and haunted dolls: the strange and fantastical world of Kim Fu’s Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century
These twelve stories interrogate individual human consciousness and the dangers of technology in our postmodern world.
- “I think everyone in some way is an outsider”: Kate Cayley on short stories, literary tradition, and why she would be hesitant to read a novel she had written
“Art is a way of remembering what it is like to be alive when you may have forgotten,” says Cayley.
- The annual anthology series Best Canadian Stories celebrates fifty years of showcasing Canada’s proficiency and variety in the literary form
“The function of it was the pleasure of the work for readers, and the value to writers was to show them how good they had to get,” says longtime series editor John Metcalf.
- Labyrinthine nightmares: “Treading the Maze” by Lisa Tuttle
Tuttle’s brand of quiet horror is at once a rejoinder to a genre that leans heavily on masculine aggression and a means to achieve effects more unsettling than an explicit presentation could ever be.
- Stalking the self: “Consequences” by Willa Cather
Cather’s use of a close third-person narration lends her story an uncanny element of unease and creepiness.
- The most wild, homely narrative: “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe
Poe’s 1843 tale is not only one of the greatest horror stories ever written; it is also a pristine example of internal integrity in the short form.
- Shashi Bhat blurs the line between novels and short fiction in her new book, The Most Precious Substance on Earth
Though Bhat’s new book is described as her second novel, the individual pieces comprise all the attributes of linked stories.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 31: “Precious Bane” by Gerald Murnane
A Borgesian story about literary posterity and the fickleness of memory, from an Australian master.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 30: “Gazebo” by Raymond Carver
A powerful monument to what the short form is capable of from “the most influential writer of American short stories in the second half of the 20th century.”
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 29: “Abortion, A Love Story” by Nicole Flattery
Irish author Flattery’s novella-length story is an enthusiastic evisceration of the patriarchy and institutional pomposity.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 28: “The Secret Sharer” by Joseph Conrad
Conrad’s story is at once a version of a doppelgänger story and an examination of repressed psychology and moral ambiguity.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 27: “The Book About the Bear” by John O’Neill
In Atwoodian terms, O’Neill’s story represents a conflation of doomed animals and survival.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 26: “Safeword” by R.O. Kwon and “Scissors” by Kim Fu
Two stories about pleasure and pain interrogate the nature of trust and what we risk when we relinquish control.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 25: “Violations” by Catherine Lacey
“Violations” is a story that instructs its reader how to read it even as it is unfolding on the page.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 24: “The Americans” by Viet Thanh Nguyen
The interplay among the characters in Nguyen’s story dramatizes the prickly concerns that crop up in the face of cultural conflicts and commingled histories.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 23: “How Myrna Survives” by Diane Schoemperlen
Diane Schoemperlen’s plaintive tale is about what happens when youthful promise gives way to the creeping disillusion of adulthood.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 22: “Furry Night” by Joan Aiken
A fantastical story with origins in myth and fairy tale, Aiken’s narrative imagines the world’s greatest Shakespearean actor as a werewolf.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 21: “A Bear Hunt” by William Faulkner
One of Faulkner’s most exuberant tales, this story of poetic revenge is also uproariously funny.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 20: “Serving” by Eva Crocker
Eva Crocker’s dual father-and-son narration draws parallels between two characters trapped in their own lives.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 19: “Radium Girl” by Sofi Papamarko
Sofi Papamarko’s superhero origin story takes a little-known historical tragedy and imagines a different outcome.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 18: “Jerry’s Kids Meet Wormboy” by David J. Schow
The term “splatterpunk” refers to a highly disreputable, extreme subgenre of graphic horror, but its best practitioners do much more with the form.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 17: “Julia and the Bazooka” by Anna Kavan
Kavan’s story is typical of her technical approach, which telescopes time and proceeds in a kind of modified stream-of-consciousness narration.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 16: “The Unfinished Novel” by Valerie Martin
Valerie Martin’s long story is about a poisonous artistic rivalry.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 15: “How to Live Longer” by M.G. Vassanji
Two time Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Vassanji’s story is about missed opportunities and unfulfilled dreams.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 14: “Tits for Cigs” by Téa Mutonji
Mutonji’s story is an empathetic look at burgeoning female sexuality and the roles women are expected to perform in our capitalist system.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 13: “Firebugs” by Craig Davidson
The language of the story is tightly calibrated and walks a tightrope between lyricism and incipient violence.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 12: “Arsonists” by Chris Benjamin
A story about a granddaughter on the day she euthanizes her grandmother is also a veiled critique of the residential school system.
- 31 Days of Stories, Day 11: “Solitary” by John Edgar Wideman
The story is about the mother of an imprisoned son before, during, and after her bus trip to visit him.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 10: “Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurston
Hurston’s story contains the folk idiom for which she is known, as well as being a signal example of her concern with women overcoming abuse at the hands of men.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 9: “The Cloak” by Robert Bloch
Not a retread or homage, Bloch’s vampire story displays a momentum and technique typical of the author’s best work.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 8: “Toward Happy Civilization” by Samanta Schweblin; Megan McDowell, trans.
Samanta Schweblin’s story about paralysis and paranoia shares elements in common with Beckett and Kafka.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 7: “Fan Mail” by Peter Robinson
In this short, ironic work of feminist noir, the femme fatale turns the tables on the hapless men and their murderous scheme.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 6: “Still Life No. 41” by Teresa Solana; Peter Bush, trans.
Catalan writer Soldana offers an outrageous premise for a story that serves as an acerbic satire of entitlement and power.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 5: “Renaissance Man” by Maxim Osipov; Boris Dralyuk, trans.
A Moscow oligarch becomes involved with a redheaded soprano and an eleven-year-old boy in a tragedy from the contemporary Russian realist.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 4: “The Ice Queen” by Madeline Sonik
Three female figures, and their carefully interwoven relationships, provide the backbone for this creepily fractured fairy tale.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 3: “Boys Go to Jupiter” by Danielle Evans
Evans’s story deals with the fallout from a viral photo of a white woman in a Confederate flag bikini.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 2: “Adoro Te Devote” by Kristyn Dunnion
Dunnion’s story, about a gay teenager navigating the shoals of religious and sexual attraction, finds its momentum in the juxtaposition of the sacred and profane.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021, Day 1: “Helping” by Robert Stone
In this ironically titled story, the author examines subjects of addiction, masculine violence, and PTSD without ever resorting to easy didacticism.
- 31 Days of Stories 2021: Why read short stories?
Stories require attention and concentration and often yield their meanings only over time, or in retrospect. But the best stories reward vigilance and repeated reading.
- No future, or, the submerged punk ethos of Susan Sanford Blades’s Fake It So Real
In these tales of mothers, daughters, fathers, and lovers, punk is more attitudinal than aural or political.
- “Not a likeable man”: “Four Stations in His Circle” by Austin Clarke
Clarke’s story – nominally a comic work – is a piercing examination of the way Canadian capitalism disfavours those who are not white.
- Brief Encounters: “Where the Door Is Always Open and the Welcome Mat Is Out” by Patricia Highsmith
The American author’s fiction is too frequently placed in a generic box; her output was much more wide ranging, including pieces like this atypical story.
- Psychology of the uncanny: “The Scar” by Ramsey Campbell
This story of a man and his malevolent doppelgänger recalls Poe and includes a critique of apparent social respectability.
- The law of unintended consequences: “The Fly” by George Langelaan
The story, which originally appeared in 1957, includes a framing structure that distances the reader from the main action.
- Terror takes flight: “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” by Richard Matheson
Of all the genre master’s classic novels and stories, none comes close to the sheer paranoid terror of this ruthless chiller.
- “The actual worth of the things you make”: “Wolverton Station” by Joe Hill
Hill’s Gothic tale is an exuberant mashup of Warren Zevon, Little Red Riding Hood, and “An American Werewolf in London.”
- “I am a singularity”: “Event Horizon” by Sunny Moraine
The house in the story – a living thing that demands to be fed – is a metaphor for difference and the other.
- “What did he have to report?”: “Paranoia” by Shirley Jackson
Jackson’s story of the commute from hell is one of her most nerve-shattering, Kafkaesque tales.
- The automaton cometh: “The Sandman” by E.T.A. Hoffmann; Ritchie Robertson, trans.
The Prussian author’s 1816 tale is an early 19th century progenitor of the modern horror story.
- 31 Days of Stories 2020, Day 31: “Home” by Langston Hughes
First published in 1934, Langston Hughes’s story throws a spotlight on racial violence that continues in America today.
- 31 Days of Stories 2020, Day 30: “Now More than Ever” by Zadie Smith
Zadie Smith’s controversial story is a dystopian satire about call-out culture.
- 31 Days of Stories 2020, Day 29: “Book Review” by Nancy Hale
Nancy Hale’s story about the dangers of poisonous political ideologies is surprisingly relevant to our current moment.
- 31 Days of Stories 2020: Day 28: “South Congress” by Bryan Washington
Bryan Washington’s story is about a veteran drug dealer who becomes a kind of surrogate father to an undocumented Guatemalan teen.
- 31 Days of Stories 2020, Day 27: “Baby Jesus and the Intruder” by Elise Levine
Elise Levine, sui generis.
- 31 Days of Stories 2020, Day 26: “Ships in High Transit” by Binyavanga Wainaina
Binyavanga Wainaina’s story is about the performative cultural roles people are expected to play.
- 31 Days of Stories 2020, Day 25: “Petty Theft” by Adrian Michael Kelly
Adrian Michael Kelly uses a train ride as a means to examine a character who is much less upright than he at first appears.
- 31 Days of Stories 2020, Day 24: “Sardonicus” by Ray Russell
Ray Russell’s 1961 modern Gothic tale has lost none of its power to shock its reader.
- 31 Days of Stories 2020, Day 23: “The Art of Shipbuilding” by Tyler Keevil
Tyler Keevil’s brief two-hander is a parable about what it takes to be an artist.
- 31 Days of Stories 2020, Day 22: “Things to Do When You’re Goth in the Country” by Chavisa Woods
Chavisa Woods’s expressionistic story is about feeling like an outcast in the place you were born.
- 31 Days of Stories 2020, Day 21: “For Smokers Only” by Julio Ramón Ribeyro; Katherine Silver, trans.
Peruvian writer Julio Ramón Ribeyro’s semi-autobiographical story investigates the metaphysical pleasures a smoker finds in cigarettes.
- 31 Days of Stories 2020, Day 20: “Mani Pedi” by Souvankham Thammavongsa
Souvankham Thammavongsa’s story is a multi-layered tale of a former boxer who takes a job at his sister’s nail salon.
- 31 Days of Stories 2020, Day 19: “Long Term Care” by Kate Cayley
Kate Cayley’s emotionally shattering story is about the struggles of adult children managing a parent’s end-of-life care.
- 31 Days of Stories 2020, Day 18: “Brutto” by Helen DeWitt
Helen DeWitt’s story is about the fraught tension between artistic integrity and fame.
- 31 Days of Stories 2020, Day 17: “The Piazza” by Herman Melville
Herman Melville’s tale is a story of disillusionment and thwarted idealism.
- 31 Days of Stories 2020, Day 16: Seventy-two Canadian stories, curated by Kevin Hardcastle
The Canadian novelist and short story writer has put together a list that provides a robust cross-section of Canadian short fiction in the 21st century.
- 31 Days of Stories 2020, Day 15: “The Swan Suit” by Katherine Fawcett
In “The Swan Suit,” Katherine Fawcett updates the tropes of classical folk tales, lending them a feminist spin.
- 31 Days of Stories 2020, Day 14: “Mr. Molt” by Anosh Irani
Anosh Irani’s story is about a grieving mother who is convinced her dead son has been reincarnated as a penguin at the local zoo.