Short Story Roundup, 2.14.18

Short Story Roundup

Short Story Roundup is a feature where I gather the best short stories I’ve read this week and share them with you every Wednesday. The stories might have been published yesterday or 100 years ago, but as long as I’ve read and loved them in a given week, you’ll find them here.

This week I’m featuring two stories about heartbreak and one about a not-too-distant but devastating future. Enjoy!


Mildly Unhappy, with Moments of Joy” by Amber Sparks

  • genre: literary/realistic fiction
  • publication: Matchbook
  • publication date: February 2018
  • why I loved it: There’s gobs of fiction out there about the unique pain of falling in love and breaking up with a romantic partner, but much less about the–in my experience, far worse–pain of breaking up with a friend. “Mildly Unhappy, with Moments of Joy” is a tender examination of a best-friendship gone wrong, and I was struck by how well Sparks captures the little details of this uniquely awful experience.

Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™” by Rebecca Roanhorse

  • genre: science fiction
  • publication: Apex Magazine
  • publication date: August 8, 2017
  • why I loved it: This story has a heavy concept–an Indian (as in Native American) man offers “authentic Indian experiences” to tourists via a virtual reality machine, ultimately to his own detriment–but Rebecca Roanhorse writes with a light, almost breezy touch. This story is wildly imaginative, ironic, and sad, and it makes me even more excited than I already was for Roanhorse’s next novel, Trail of Lightning, about a post-apocalyptic Dinétah (Navajo) monster hunter.

In Omaha” by Amy Mackelden

  • genre: flash fiction, literary/realistic fiction, magical realism
  • publication: NANO Fiction
  • publication date: February 2016
  • why I loved it: I love how inventive flash fiction writers are by necessity, whether with language or plot. This snippet, about parents’ reaction to their child’s heartbreak, is sweet, sad, a little goofy, and very real all at once, in the way that only good flash fiction really can be.

What short fiction have you read and enjoyed lately? For the writers out there: Has any of your work appeared online or in print this week? Tell me all about it in the comments!

 

Short Story Roundup, 1.24.18

Short Story Roundup

Short Story Roundup is a feature where I gather the best short stories I’ve read this week and share them with you every Wednesday. The stories might have been published yesterday or 100 years ago, but as long as I’ve read and loved them in a given week, you’ll find them here.


Poetry Suite by Adrienne Novy

  • genre: poetry (not fiction at all! is that cheating?)
  • publication: NAILED Magazine
  • publication date: November 7, 2017
  • why I loved it: I have the privilege of knowing Adrienne in real life (we attended the same small liberal arts college) and she is one of my most gifted friends. Though this suite of poems is neither prose nor fiction, I wanted to include it here, since Adrienne deftly weaves together threads of disability, sexuality, trauma, and the sacred into a truly gorgeous narrative. I sometimes struggle to read poetry–it’s a personal failing–but never when Adrienne is writing it.

Trailer Trash” by Joshua James Sanders

  • genre: magical realism, flash fiction
  • publication: NANO Fiction
  • publication date: March 14, 2016
  • why I loved it: A magician visits a trailer park for a kid’s birthday–and things get weird. I was thoroughly charmed by the details of this story, especially because I’ve noticed that flash fiction writers, panicked by the lack of space, will often omit the little sensory observations that make a story feel real.

Little Reunions” by Eileen Chang (translated by Jane Weizhen Pan and Martin Merz)

  • genre: literary/realistic fiction
  • publication: Literary Hub (excerpted from the English translation of Chang’s novel)
  • publication date: originally, 1976; in English, 2018.
  • why I loved it: This is a lovely snippet of what I imagine is a lovely novel; because it’s an excerpt, I didn’t get a full sense of the plot, but I loved the way Chang has captured what the beginning of falling in love feels like, and the way it happens both from within and without: from within as you fall in love, and without as the people around you react to your fall. I plan on seeking out the novel.

What short fiction have you read and enjoyed lately? For the writers out there: Has any of your work appeared online or in print this week? Tell me all about it in the comments!