Short Stories Sweet and Underrated

News Sentinel, April 3, 2016 | Go to article overview

Short Stories Sweet and Underrated


Short stories have always been the wallflower of the literary world. At least when it comes to publishing.

I am taking my time reading "The Best American Short Stories of 2015," edited by T.C. Boyle and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Each story is at least 10 pages long, but no more than 30. My personal favorite short stories are what used to be called the "short short," but as a rising new genre today they go by several names: flash fiction; postcard fiction; even prose poem. They are only about a page long, sometimes not even that.

The real market for short stories has been, and continues to be, prestigious literary journals like The Kenyon Review, StoryQuarterly, Tin House, Glimmer Train, The Sun -- as well as magazines with a strong short story section, like The New Yorker, Harper's and The Atlantic.

A journey through this collection of the best from last year takes readers from an underwater adventure involving mermaids to a soldier waking up on a pile of rubble in Fallujah; a down-on-his- luck fighter headed to Florida to take on a Brazilian middleweight to a sad marriage in Paris that even a dying dog could not save.

Readers get to enjoy catchy, clever first lines that pull them into the riptide of yet another story:

"Looking in the hotel mirror, David Jenkins adjusted the Stetson he disliked and pulled on a windbreaker with a cattle-vaccine logo. …

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