The Great Short Stories – An Introduction

The days in which I sit around reading short stories are over.  On my previous blogs, I’ve written about the experience of getting lost and loving short stories, but the times I had to read most of them are long past – mostly (and sadly), they were the few months in 2005 and the one month in 2006 that I was unemployed.

I hope to go back and read the stories I loved then, for the most part, I remember something about the ones I’ve loved.  Recently, I’ve read many Alice Munro stories, as I think she is unmatched for greatness in modern short story writers, and so maybe I’ll write about her.  However, what I really wish I’d written about was each.  It started for me, most truly, with Rick Moody’s “On The Carousel,” a 12-page story about a woman and her trip through a McDonald’s drive thru in Los Angeles.  I recently started a short story reading group with my friends and this was the first one we discussed too.  Truly, this story, at 12 pages, changed the way that I read and saw short fiction – it’s when I realized they were works unto themselves.

Tobias Wolff once stated he felt short stories were closer to poetry than fiction, because an author cannot let his attention flag, cannot let his narrative dip at all.  I hope to talk about the parts of life that my favorite short stories, in their detailed, cryptic way, put front and center.

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