Archive for the ‘Short Stories’ Category

THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 2011 edited by Geraldine Brooks

This year’s editor of THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 2011 is Geraldine Brooks, an accomplished journalist and fiction writer. She says of her selections “that the easiest and the first choices were the stories to which I had a physical response.” I would agree that the best stories in this collection are those that are most visceral and physical in nature. Ms. Brooks also states that “In the end, the stories I fell upon with perhaps the greatest delight were the outliers, the handful or so that defied the overwhelming gravitational pull toward small-canvas contemporary realism.”

October 5, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Short Stories

THE SURF GURU by Doug Dorst

THE SURF GURU reads like a challenge to all that is conventional. Just when the reader begins to see a link, one story to the next–all these characters seem marginal, for instance–along comes the atypical character profile and out goes the convention of form.

September 23, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Posted in: Short Stories

ADIOS, HAPPY HOMELAND by Ana Menendez

I have seldom read such an extraordinary collection of stories, fascinating in their sheer inventiveness, subtly interlinked so that their images reflect and coruscate. It is not entirely right to speak of stories either. Roughly half the two dozen pieces in this collection might be called stories in the normal sense, though some are no more than brief surreal hallucinations. The rest include several poems, two sets of dictionary entries, a letter and the reply to it, a news report, and a brief history of poetry in Cuba. All the pieces are ostensibly by different authors, collected by an expatriate Irishman who introduces himself in the preface and concludes with brief biographies of all the writers involved. All of course are fictional, even the author herself: “Ana Menéndez is the pseudonym of an imaginary writer and translator, invented, if not to lend coherence to this collection, at least to offer it the pretense of contemporary relevance.”

August 18, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Cuba, Short Stories, Unique Narrative, World Lit

FRENCH FEAST: A TRAVELER’S LITERARY COMPANION edited by William Rodarmor

According to Richard Wrangham, a biological anthropologist at Harvard, when Homo erectus, already master over fire, threw some tubers on a spit, freeing up nutrients and easing digestion, teeth, jaws and intenstines shrunk, paving the way for the evolution of larger brains, and us, Homo sapiens. In the wilds of the prehistoric world, it’s likely our human ancestors gathered around a single fire for safety, and a communal feast, suggesting that our need to sit and break bread with each other – rather than scarfing down food, alone, in a moving car –is an ancient memory buried deep in our brains.

August 13, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: France, Short Stories, Translated, World Lit

AND YET THEY WERE HAPPY by Helen Phillips

Like a fairy tale, way (way) back in the day when you could still be enchanted, and yet they were happy makes you feel giddy and haunted at the same time. I found myself blinking a lot while reading, as if I couldn’t quite believe what my mind was seeing. Slowly, I realized: I believe.

August 3, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Allegory/Fable, Short Stories, Unique Narrative, y Award Winning Author

THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME by Donald Ray Pollock

Out of the funk and foul methane mist comes this almost mythical tale of legendary proportions, a lugubrious story ripe and ribald with gallows humor and the kind of tragedy that is crawling with comic perversity. This amoral cast of hillbilly trash will make your eyes twitch and your forehead darken as you turn the pages with unabashed glee and lick your foaming lips with depraved delight. These are people who are devoted to the Lord with fire and brimstone dedication, a demonic depravity that fills them with Jesus juice and strychnine.

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