Archive for the ‘Short Stories’ Category

THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME by Donald Ray Pollock

I read Donald Ray Pollock’s collection of short stories, KNOCKEMSTIFF, in 2009 when it first came out. It amazed me with its brilliance at the same time that it wrenched my guts. His new book, THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME is just as brilliant but feels more like a kick in the guts. It’s heavy, horrific, beautifully written and filled with studies of people one hopes never to meet. There were times when I felt like a voyeur, watching something that was meant to be private and not shared but I read on anyway, fascinated and sometimes disgusted, but always riveted and totally impressed with the quality of the writing. The tenor, weight and tension of the novel never lets up.

July 12, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Contemporary, Short Stories

I KNEW YOU’D BE LOVELY by Alethea Black

Every now and then, a debut short story collection appears that makes me sit up and take notice… Alethea Black has taken her place as a short story writer who shows amazing promise.

July 8, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Posted in: Short Stories


The silent, overlooked residents of Los Angeles’ Echo Park neighborhood play the starring role in author Brando Skyhorse’s debut, THE MADONNAS OF ECHO PARK. The novel, really more of a collection of short stories, each narrated by a different character, presents to the reader different facets of both the Mexican and Mexican-American experience in multicultural Los Angeles. Skyhorse, winner of the 2011 PEN/Hemingway Award for this novel, was born and raised in Echo Park.

June 23, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, California, Class - Race - Gender, Debut Novel, Latin American/Caribbean, PEN/Hemingway Winner, Reading Guide, Short Stories


This collection of short stories is intriguing and memorable, firstly for its peculiar themes and obsessions, secondly (contrary to what one might expect) because the earlier pieces seem far “better” than the later.

June 13, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Short Stories, Spain, Translated, World Lit, y Award Winning Author


What does it mean to be biracial and free in postmillennial America? The writer James Baldwin is quoted as saying, “Freedom is something that people take and people are as free as they want to be.”

By that definition, do the young interracial women that inhabit Danzy Senna’s first collection of short stories want to be free? Or do they want to belong to a collective… something, larger than themselves? The answer, as one might suspect, is complicated.

June 2, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Short Stories

LIGHT LIFTING by Alexander MacLeod

The world that Alexander MacLeod’s protagonists inhabit is not an easygoing or a comfortable one, it is – a realistic one. Set in different urban milieus, most of his characters are young, struggling to get ahead in life. Some confront personal adversity, hoping for companionship or friendship, others attempt to find solace and even redemption. With his debut story collection MacLeod exhibits an exquisite writing talent that succeeds in capturing, with precision and depth, both the inner workings of the individual’s psyche and their social and physical circumstances. The back cover of the book describes the author – very aptly I find – as a writer of “ferocious physicality”.

May 29, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Canada, Short Stories