What is your favorite short story?
Carver’s “A Small Good Thing” or maybe Chekhov’s “Misery”. Joyce’s “The Counterparts” from Dubliners*.
Yeah, I’m a moody fuck.
* “The Dead” is a tad long to be a ‘short’ story and it’s the easy pick. It may well be better than all the others I named, too.
or maybe “Report on the Barnhouse Effect”
Why I Stay at The P.O. by Eudora Welty
Too many to choose only one, but Why I Stay at the PO is in the top ten.
Years and years ago I picked up a short story collection and had the pleasure of reading Annie Proulx’s “Brokeback Mountain” long before it was turned into a movie. You can read it here:
anything by john collier.
“Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin.
Also “When It Changes” by Joanna Russ. Available here:
“One Ordinary Day, With Peanuts” by Shirley Jackson
“Haircut”, Ring Lardner
“King of the Hill”, Chad Oliver
“For Esme, With Love And Squalor”, J. D. Salinger
“The Nine Billion Names Of God”, Arthur C. Clark
Barnhouse effect is very good.
“Whan It Changed” wins the thread. Everyone who hasn’t read it yet, should.
The two fictional short stories that most immediately come to mind:
Mary McCarthy, “Cruel and Barbarous Treatment”
Michael Dorris, The Benchmark
There’s also the storytelling Gary Smith has done in his sports journalism; my favorite is The Ripples From Little Lake Nellie:
I also need to mention David Foster Wallace’s terrific writing about pro tennis in his essay The String Theory.
My favorite is probably Saki’s “The Open Window”, closely followed by “Mammon and the Archer”. I suppose I’m a sucker for a good twist in the tale. I also think that the late 19th and early 20th centuries were the golden age for short stories for a variety of reasons related to the market available for them. (I would have mentioned
“Nine Billion Names of God”, but it’s a bit further down my list.)
Before Orson Scott Card decided to be a dick, he had a great tome of short stories called Maps in a Mirror. In it, “Unaccompanied Sonata” and “Porcelain Salamander” are my favorites.
Terry Bisson, author of “When Bears Discovered Fire”, has 3 or 4 short story volumes, that have that same wonder and inexplicable reality. He’s an outspoken Dirty Fucking Hippie just like us, so it’s even more gratfiying to buy his books and give hime royalties.
Oh, and I thought it was “Why I Live At The P.O.”
Speaking of sci-fi short stories, pick up some James Tip tree Jr. sometime, everyone.
Second mellowjohn’s nomination.
I am inordinately fond of Eudora Welty’s “The Ponder Heart,” but, in length it’s right on the cusp of a novella. I really like some of Pynchon’s short stories, especially “Entropy,” along with Annie Proulx’s great set of linked stories, Accordion Crimes. But, I have to say my recent favorite is Steven Millhauser’s “The Dome.”
“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”
“The Lake” by Ray Bradbury, and a second vote for Clarke’s “The Nine Billion Names of God.”
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