- Christine Estima’s debut collection mines the experience of Arab immigrants to Canada
Estima infuses her writing with sensitivity for the barbed points of human interaction.
- The Spooky Season: Joyce Carol Oates offers up fifteen tales of body horror by women
Body horror is by nature a visceral mode, and many of the writers here take full advantage of the gooier elements in their tales.
- The Spooky Season: Jordan Peele adds some Hollywood star power to new anthology of horror tales by Black authors
Bringing these stories together in one place highlights the genre contributions of Black writers.
- Lisa Alward’s debut short fiction collection is a quietly potent cocktail
The stories display a surface placidity that belies their deeper structure.
- The best stories in the horror anthology Found are those that interpret the book’s mandate broadly
It’s hard to fault the contributors to the volume, or the ambition of the editors.
- Precise language and patterns of imagery highlight the debut collection of stories from Amy LeBlanc
LeBlanc’s short fiction is refreshingly resistant to closure.
- Zero-Sum, the latest collection from Joyce Carol Oates, is a grab bag of goodies from various genres
This latest volume offers an energetic point of entry as well as a strong argument for Oates’s continued relevance.
- Agustina Bazterrica’s strange and uncomfortable short stories channel the ghost of Borges
There are pleasures aplenty to be found in Bazterrica’s bitter and poisoned bouquet.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 31: “Nine Lives” by Ursula K. Le Guin
Le Guin had her pulse on the present and was able to anticipate where the human species was likely headed given its current trajectory.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 30: “Ancestral Links” by Yvonne Vera
The narrative highlights the danger ordinary citizens faced while attempting even routine business during wartime.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 29: “Clytie” by Eudora Welty
If Welty begins her tale as a moody Gothic throwback, by the conclusion she has injected a large dollop of ridiculousness.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 28: “The Last Kiss” by Maurice Level; Alys Eyre Macklin, trans.
Level was closely associated with Paris’s notorious Théâtre du Grand-Guignol.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 27: “To Look Out the Window” by Orhan Pamuk; Maureen Freely, trans.
Throughout the story, lies and deception are common factors uniting the various characters.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 26: “Perfect Places” by Casey Plett
Plett is not content to let her story act as a didactic tale about cis intolerance.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 25: “Cheating at Canasta” by William Trevor
The true effects of grief cannot be diminished with platitudes, they must be respected and honoured.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 24: “Jumping Ship” by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Braithwaite’s plot is tightly calibrated and it’s not until the final third of the story that the crime even materializes.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 23: “Letter to a Young Lady in Paris” by Julio Cortázar; Paul Blackburn, trans.
One of the pervasive themes running through the story is the conflict between order and chaos.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 22: “Snowblower” by Michelle Porter
Porter’s story is as significant for what it leaves out as for what it includes.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 21: “The Moment Before the Gun Went Off” by Nadine Gordimer
Gordimer refuses to level judgment herself in the story.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 20: “Expecting” by Steven Heighton
Imagery involving implicit threat is threaded throughout the story.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 19: “The Harvest” by Amy Hempel
How much of “The Harvest” is true to the facts of Hempel’s experience is unclear, and also unimportant.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 18: “Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire” by Neil Gaiman
Gaiman is commenting on our various prejudices regarding where genre work falls in the realm of literary respectability.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 17: “Doi Moi Beans” by Philip Huynh
“Doi Moi Beans” is a story about exploitation; not the obvious kind, but the subtle version.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 16: “Wedding Day” by Gwendolyn Bennett
Bennett’s story, though relatively brief, is a subtle excavation of racial, class, and gendered power dynamics.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 15: “Willing” by Premee Mohamed
The story operates in the subgenre that has typically become known as folk horror.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 14: “Amberine” by Camille Hernández-Ramdwar
Camille Hernández-Ramdwar’s story addresses the nuances involved in the anti-vax movement via the eponymous character.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 13: “Title” by John Barth and “Elements of the Short Story” by Stuart Ross
Barth, like Ross, writes in a highly ironic mode.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 12: “Rhubarb” by Lauren Carter
The key symbol for reclaiming something of youth’s vigour and potential is the rhubarb that serves as the story’s title.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 11: “Doves” by Carol Bruneau
Bruneau’s story is about human suffering and the willingness of people who witness it to intervene
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 10: “A North American Education” by Clark Blaise
As much as it is a story about sex, “A North American Education” is also a story about fathers and sons.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 9: “Striding Folly” by Dorothy L. Sayers
If “Striding Folly” does not represent Sayers at the height of her powers, it is nevertheless an intriguing oddity.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 8: “The Raincoat” by Martha Bátiz
Bátiz’s story examines the class divides that permeate the city through the prism of a Mexican immigrant.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 7: “The Robot and the Baby” by John McCarthy
The story may not work as fiction, but it does illuminate some of the philosophical and ontological dilemmas swirling around the notion of sentient robots.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 6: “End Times” by Michelle Syba
Faith is, to those who don’t subscribe, a kind of pandering to scared people.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 5: “The Earring” by Jo Nesbø; Robert Ferguson, trans.
The author’s trick in “The Earring” is to convince his reader to sympathize with sad-sack Amund.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 4: “The Umbrella” by Tove Ditlevsen; Michael Favala Goldman, trans.
Ditlevsen is merciless in denying her protagonist catharsis.
- 31 Days of Stories, Day 3: “Meet You at the Door” by Lawrence Hill
Hill’s short story was first published in the Walrus in 2011.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 2: “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates
The story has numerous commonalities with Everil Worrell’s pulp horror tale “Leonora.”
- 31 Days of Stories 2023, Day 1: “Leonora” by Everil Worrell
Worrell foregrounds the degree to which male members of the medical establishment dismiss or ignore women’s complaints.
- 31 Days of Stories 2023: Introduction
Short story writers operate in a literary form that seems endlessly malleable, protean, and open to experimentation.
- The Journey Prize and Best Canadian Stories anthologies showcase strong offerings – and a few misfires
Each of these anthologies features a range of subjects and approaches, testifying to the richness of the landscape in Canada.
- “You got yourself into a Lindsay Wong story”: The author of Tell Me Pleasant Things about Immortality talks about ghosts, Chinese families, and her idiosyncratic approach to fiction
“I’m interested in that idea: when we transform ourselves, are we transforming our pain?”
- Queer fear: an anthology of fiction and poetry reimagines horror tropes from LGBTQ+ perspectives
“These stories ask the question What is a monster? and complicate the definition of ‘monster’ along the way.”
- Journey Prize amends its practices by declaring all contributors to anthology “winners,” awarding each $1,000
The journals in which the stories originally appeared will receive $200 per published story in the anthology.
- With his new short story collection, Stuart Ross continues in the spirit of underground publishing
Traces of writers as diverse as Daniil Kharms and Jorge Luis Borges are detectable in the collection.
- Alan Moore stretches the generic definition of a story with a single volume that comprises eight short(er) pieces and one full-on novel
Its generic inappropriateness notwithstanding, “What We Can Know About Thunderman” is worth the price of the current volume all on its own.
- In her first collection of short stories, Newfoundland’s Bridget Canning performs acts of radical empathy
Canning’s fiction is as intriguing for what it leaves out as for what gets included.
- 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.