Five-Star Short Fiction

I think short fiction is one of the greatest types of literature. The compressed stories, intense situations, surprising ironic twists and abrupt finishes are some of the things I love about short stories. They always leave me thinking! Here’s a list of my favorites. What are yours?


a rose for emily pic

 

“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner

 

 


Best American Short Stories 1993

 

“An Angel on the Porch” by Thomas Wolfe

 


Babylon Revisited

 

“Babylon Revisited” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

 


Best American Short Stories 1994

 

“Cold Snap” by Thom Jones


Scribner Anthology big

 

“Death by Landscape” by Margaret Atwood


Scribner Anthology big

 

“Gryphon” by Charles Baxter


in the gloaming

 

“In the Gloaming” by Alice Elliott Dark


Best American Short Stories 1993

 

“Red Moccasins” by Susan Power


Scribner Anthology big

 

“Same Place, Same Things” by Tim Gautreaux


the chrysanthemums pic

 

“The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck


The Horse Dealer's Daughter new

 

“The Horse Dealer’s Daughter” by D. H. Lawrence


The Most Dangerous Game

 

“The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell


The Necklace pic


“The Necklace”
by Guy de Maupassant


The Oblong Box

 

“The Oblong Box” by Edgar Allan Poe


The Secret Life of Walter Mitty new

 

“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber


The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

 

“The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”
by Ernest Hemingway


the joy luck club pic

 

“Two Kinds” from The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

 

 


I also enjoyed these collected stories by two of the greatest short fiction writers:

Dear Life cover

 

Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro

 

 


 

BIGWildernessTips

 

 

Wilderness Tips by Margaret Atwood

 

 


What’s your favorite genre?  Leave a comment and let’s get talking!

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The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

The Sound and the Fury
The Sound and the Fury

by
William Faulkner

Rating:

Being a busy mom and reading The Sound and the Fury is a nearly impossible combination! I did my best, however, to read and understand this difficult, but interesting book. First published in 1929, The Sound and the Fury is Faulkner’s fourth novel. It’s the story of the Compson family and it takes place in Jefferson, Mississippi between 1898 and 1928.

Reconstruction after the Civil War has left the Compsons in a daze. They no longer enjoy their prominence as southern aristocrats and they are clinging to a legacy that has lost importance in the post-war world. The father is an alcoholic, the mother a hypochondriac and the four children have their own serious issues.

The best way to make sense of The Sound and the Fury is to understand how it’s structured. The book is divided into four parts, told from different points of view. The first three parts are told by the three Compson brothers and their stories are presented in an unusual and wildly jumping stream of consciousness format, with limited punctuation and many difficult setting and storyline jumps.

Benjy’s story comes first. Benjy is an idiot manchild and he can only communicate in the most basic of animal ways. In this section, you get a vague and confusing idea of where he fits in the family and how his parents, the family servants, and his brothers and sister, Caddy, feel about him. Major things are happening in the Compson family, but it’s hard to make sense of what they are.

The second section is told by Quentin Compson, the oldest sibling. He’s a freshman at Harvard and his life is unraveling. He has an intense and confusing relationship with Caddy and he’s struggling with serious internal conflicts.

Jason’s story comes next. He’s a selfish, sarcastic and bitter man, the only sibling to stay at home, but he’s not to be trusted and easy to hate. It’s a relief to get to this part, however, because his narration is much easier to understand. The missing pieces start falling into place and you start to feel better about understanding what’s happening.

The fourth section is written in a third-person omniscient format and if you reach this part, you can congratulate yourself! This section focuses on Dilsey, the Compson family’s black cook who is the Compsons’ anchor. She’s the only one who seems at peace with her place in this dysfunctional family.

I first read The Sound and the Fury in college and remember loving the book. But I had a wildly enthusiastic professor who explained everything to our class. I can’t imagine I would have understood any of this book if I had read it on my own. Today there are lots of guides to help you through this challenging book. The two I found the most helpful are SparkNotes and Wikipedia so check those out for some reading support!

I can’t say that this is one of my favorites, but I do feel good that I read it. It’s kind of like being on the other side of doing a workout. You’re glad you did it, but there was some pain along the way!

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What’s up next? The Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkner

The Sound and the Fury

Before I crack open the 2014 books on my list, I’m going to jump back to a classic – The Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkner. I loved this book when I read it in college, and it’s my pick this month for my local book club.

The Sound and the Fury was first published in 1929 and is considered one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.

William Faulkner
William Faulkner

William Faulkner (1897-1962) was an American writer from Oxford, Mississippi. He placed many of his short stories and novels in the fictional Yoknapatwpha County, based on his own experiences in Lafayette and Holly Springs/Marshall Counties. In 1949, Faulkner received the Nobel Prize for Literature and received the Pulitzer Prize twice (1955 and 1963), for his novels A Fable and The Reivers. In addition to these works, Faulkner is best known for his novels The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Light in August, and Absalom, Absalom! Faulkner also wrote poetry, essays, screenplays and two stage plays.

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“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner

a rose for emily pic“A Rose for Emily”
by
William Faulkner

Rating:

In “A Rose for Emily,” William Faulkner tells the story of the reclusive Miss Emily Grierson, an old southern spinster from an era past.  In just a few pages, he shows the character of the curious townsfolk and, with only a small amount of dialogue from Miss Emily, hints at an understanding of her thinking and choices to cling to a southern life that has long passed.

I’m sure I read this story in school, but I’m finding how great it is to re-read something with the perspective of being older.  I don’t know if, back in high school, I could have appreciated Faulkner’s writing style and his ability to give the reader such a clear view of the personality of his characters.

Faulkner touches on the themes of change and death in “A Rose for Emily,” particularly as he shows how Emily and many people in the southern states resisted change after the Civil War.  Miss Emily wants to continue to live in a time when her family was part of the upper class and tries to do that by shutting herself inside, as reconstruction and northern influences surround her.  Faulkner also shows how she struggles to control the circumstances of death and decay, which play into the surprise ending, tying what seems to be just a descriptive detail into the final evidence of what she’s done.

If you have a few minutes to sit and relax, this short story is the perfect way to get a quick taste of Faulkner’s high quality literature!

william faulkner
William Faulkner

William Faulkner (1897-1962) was an American writer from Oxford Mississippi and is considered one of the greatest writers of American literature.  He placed many of his short stories and novels in the fictional Yoknapatwpha County, based on his own experiences in Lafayette and Holly Springs/Marshall Counties.  In 1949, Faulkner received the Nobel Prize for Literature and received the Pulitzer Prize twice (1955 and 1963), for his novels A Fable and The Reivers.  In addition to these works, Faulkner is best known for his novels The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Light in August, and  Absalom, Absalom!  Faulkner also wrote poetry, essays, screenplays and two stage plays.

Thanks for visiting!  Come back soon.