2021 favorites

2021 Favorites

It was a good year, at least for the SSMT website.

We traveled the world with a new country’s short stories every week (with the occasional themed month). Sure, we continued reading a lot of staples from the canon – Chekhov and the like – but it was nice to get away from standard-issue American Lit for a while.

Of course that being said, as we look forward to the new year, the plan is to very much return to the United States. Every week in 2022, we’ll read stories from a different state. Throw in Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, and you’ve got 52 weeks’ worth American travels.

Before we hit the road, though, here is the annual list ranking the stories highlighted this year on the site, sorted in order of my own enjoyment.

Have a happy new year!


  1. ‘The Mad Lomasneys’ by Frank O’Connor
  2. ‘Bluebell Meadow’ by Benedict Kiely
  3. ‘The Turkey Season’ by Alice Munro
  4. ‘Another Christmas’ by William Trevor
  5. ‘Bravado’ by William Trevor
  6. ‘Meneseteung’ by Alice Munro
  7. ‘The Singers’ by Ivan Turgenev
  8. ‘A Family Supper’ by Kazuo Ishiguro
  9. ‘The Swimming Contest’ by Benjamin Tammuz
  10. ‘Jericho’s Brick Battlements’ by Margaret Laurence
  11. ‘Hair Jewellery’ by Margaret Atwood
  12. ‘The House With The Mezzanine’ by Anton Chekhov
  13. ‘The Country Doctor’ by Ivan Turgenev
  14. ‘The Husband’ by Anton Chekhov
  15. ‘Upturned’ by Frank O’Connor
  16. ‘The Trout’ by Sean O’Faolain
  17. ‘Waiting’ by Amos Oz
  18. ‘The Mother’ by Natalia Ginzburg
  19. ‘A Dedicated Man’ by Elizabeth Taylor
  20. ‘A Lodging For The Night’ by Robert Louis Stevenson
  21. ‘Blow-Up’ by Julio Cortázar
  22. ‘News For The Church’ by Frank O’Connor
  23. ‘The Story Of A Horse’ by Isaac Babel
  24. ‘End Of The Game’ by Julio Cortázar
  25. ‘Suspicion’ by Dorothy Sayers
  26. ‘Extra’ by Yiyun Li
  27. ‘Miss Harriet’ by Guy de Maupassant
  28. ‘A Success Story’ by Margaret Drabble
  29. ‘Bad Dreams’ by Tessa Hadley
  30. ‘Mrs. Charbury At Eltham’ by Max Porter
  31. ‘The Man Who Knew How’ by Dorothy Sayers
  32. ‘The Flight Of Geese’ by Leslie Norris
  33. ‘Cold And Sunny’ by Maeve Brennan
  34. ‘Mr. Salary’ by Sally Rooney
  35. ‘Butcher’s Perfume’ by Sarah Hall
  36. ‘Filling Up With Sugar’ by Yuten Sawanishi
  37. ‘Storm In A Teacup’ by Lu Xun
  38. ‘Guy de Maupassant’ by Isaac Babel
  39. ‘Naga’ by R.K. Narayan
  40. ‘A Perfect Day For Kangaroos’ by Haruki Murakami
  41. ‘The Rocking-Horse Winner’ by D.H. Lawrence
  42. ‘Lorry Raja’ by Madhuri Vijay
  43. ‘Gómez Palacio’ by Roberto Bolaño
  44. ‘The Black Monk’ by Anton Chekhov
  45. ‘The Secret Miracle’ by Jorge Luis Borges
  46. ‘The Love Object’ by Edna O’Brien
  47. ‘Dandelion’ by Lore Segal
  48. ‘The House Of The Famous Poet’ by Muriel Spark
  49. ‘Success’ by Adriana Balboa
  50. ‘A Day In The Country’ by Dan Jacobson
  51. ‘The Earthquake In Chile’ by Heinrich von Kleist
  52. ‘Happy Birthday’ by Clarice Lispector
  53. ‘The Mouth Of The Cave’ by Edna O’Brien
  54. ‘The Day We Got Our Own Back’ by Maeve Brennan
  55. ‘I’m Your Horse In The Night’ by Luisa Valenzuela
  56. ‘Boule de Suif’ by Guy de Maupassant
  57. ‘The Boots At The Holly-Tree Inn’ by Charles Dickens
  58. ‘Civil Peace’ by Chinua Achebe
  59. ‘The Open Window’ by Saki
  60. ‘Idyll’ by Guy de Maupassant
  61. ‘A Clean Marriage’ by Sayaka Murata
  62. ‘Alyosha The Pot’ by Leo Tolstoy
  63. ‘A Horse And Two Goats’ by R.K. Narayan
  64. ‘The Majesty Of The Law’ by Frank O’Connor
  65. ‘Lord Emsworth Acts For The Best’ by P.G. Wodehouse
  66. ‘The Sugawn Chair’ by Sean O’Faolain
  67. ‘Two Gentle People’ by Graham Greene
  68. ‘The Log’ by Guy de Maupassant
  69. ‘The Fashion Plate’ by Rhys Davies
  70. ‘Remnants Of Carnival’ by Clarice Lispector
  71. ‘An Abduction’ by Tessa Hadley
  72. ‘The Third Bank Of The River’ by João Guimarães Rosa
  73. ‘The Clearing’ by Luisa Mercedes Levinson
  74. ‘The Life Of The Imagination’ by Nadine Gordimer
  75. ‘Dolgushov’s Death’ by Isaac Babel
  76. ‘Salt’ by Isaac Babel
  77. ‘How Much Land Does A Man Need?’ by Leo Tolstoy
  78. ‘The Queen Of Spades’ by Alexander Pushkin
  79. ‘A Dashing Fellow’ by Vladimir Nabokov
  80. ‘The Lumber-Room’ by Saki
  81. ‘The Headstrong Historian’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  82. ‘Her Table Spread’ by Elizabeth Bowen
  83. ‘Cloud Castle Lake’ by Vladimir Nabokov
  84. ‘Oysters’ by Anton Chekhov
  85. ‘The Tryst’ by Ivan Turgenev
  86. ‘A Russian Beauty’ by Vladimir Nabokov
  87. ‘Heirs’ by Amos Oz
  88. ‘A Passion In The Desert’ by Honoré de Balzac
  89. ‘Crossing The Alps’ by Margaret Drabble
  90. ‘Summer 1976’ by Chris Power
  91. ‘A Day In The Life Of A Smiling Woman’ by Margaret Drabble
  92. ‘The Gifts Of War’ by Margaret Drabble
  93. ‘Only Orange’ by Camille Bordas
  94. ‘Extraordinary Little Cough’ by Dylan Thomas
  95. ‘Roman Spring’ by Leslie Norris
  96. ‘Lima, Peru, July 28, 1979’ by Daniel Alarcón
  97. ‘Balthazar’s Marvelous Afternoon’ by Gabriel García Márquez
  98. ‘Unread Messages’ by Sally Rooney
  99. ‘Unholy Living And Half Dying’ by Sean O’Faolain
  100. ‘Birds In The Mouth’ by Samanta Schweblin
  101. ‘House Taken Over’ by Julio Cortázar
  102. ‘A Singular Occurrence’ by Machado de Assis
  103. ‘Khor And Kalinich’ by Ivan Turgenev
  104. ‘After The Battle’ by Isaac Babel
  105. ‘Color And Light’ by Sally Rooney
  106. ‘The Wine Breath’ by John McGahern
  107. ‘Letter To A Young Lady In Paris’ by Julio Cortázar
  108. ‘Lappin And Lapinova’ by Virginia Woolf
  109. ‘Doctors’ by Anneliese Mackintosh
  110. ‘If It Keeps On Raining’ by Jon McGregor
  111. ‘How Old Timofei Died With A Song’ by Rainer Maria Rilke
  112. ‘Mortmain’ by Graham Greene
  113. ‘The Spring Hat’ by H.E. Bates
  114. ‘The Continuation Of The Story Of A Horse’ by Isaac Babel
  115. ‘Ivan And Ivan’ by Isaac Babel
  116. ‘Polinka’ by Anton Chekhov
  117. ‘Afonka Bida’ by Isaac Babel
  118. ‘The Smallest Woman In The World’ by Clarice Lispector
  119. ‘Katania’ by Lara Vapnyar
  120. ‘Prince Hamlet Of Shchrigrovo’ by Ivan Turgenev
  121. ‘Two Landowners’ by Ivan Turgenev
  122. ‘The Lighthouse’ by Agnes Owens
  123. ‘Pornography’ by Ian McEwan
  124. ‘Even Pretty Eyes Commit Crimes’ by M.J. Hyland
  125. ‘You Are My Dear Friend’ by Madhuri Vijay
  126. ‘Rape Fantasies’ by Margaret Atwood
  127. ‘The Leaf-Sweeper’ by Muriel Spark
  128. ‘Midnight Mass’ by Machado de Assis
  129. ‘Judas’ by Frank O’Connor
  130. ‘De Mortuis’ by John Collier
  131. ‘The Fountain Plays’ by Dorothy Sayers
  132. ‘An Arrow O’er The House’ by Dorothy Sayers
  133. ‘Then Later, His Ghost’ by Sarah Hall
  134. ‘When The Door Closed, It Was Dark’ by Alison Moore
  135. ‘Confessing’ by Guy de Maupassant
  136. ‘A Voyage To Cythera’ by Margaret Drabble
  137. ‘The Apparition Of Mrs. Veal’ by Daniel Defoe
  138. ‘Le Miroir’ by Robert Aickman
  139. ‘Dilemma’ by Dorothy Sayers
  140. ‘August Heat’ by W.F. Harvey
  141. ‘The Demon Lover’ by Elizabeth Bowen
  142. ‘Medicine’ by Lu Xun
  143. ‘Omakase’ by Weike Wang
  144. ‘Mateo Falcone’ by Prosper Mérimée
  145. ‘The Challenge’ by Mario Vargas Llosa
  146. ‘Absit’ by Angélica Gorodischer
  147. ‘Up The Bare Stairs’ by Sean O’Faolain
  148. ‘The Obedient Ones’ by Clarice Lispector
  149. ‘The Lottery Ticket’ by Ventura García Calderón
  150. ‘The Confession’ by Leïla Slimani
  151. ‘A Family Like Any Other’ by Carlos Fuentes
  152. ‘The Kangaroo Communiqué’ by Haruki Murakami
  153. ‘The Lazy River’ by Zadie Smith
  154. ‘I Arrive First’ by Emma Jane Unsworth
  155. ‘Saint Julian The Hospitaller’ by Gustave Flaubert
  156. ‘Tony Takitani’ by Haruki Murakami
  157. ‘The Pet’ by Nadine Gordimer
  158. ‘The Tiger Of The Plains’ by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento
  159. ‘The Golden Pony’ by Glyn Jones
  160. ‘Modern Girls’ by Teju Cole
  161. ‘The Bound Man’ by Ilse Aichinger
  162. ‘His Excellency’ by Indro Montanelli
  163. ‘Crabs’ by Haruki Murakami
  164. ‘The Rise And Fall Of Sharpie Cakes’ by Haruki Murakami
  165. ‘She Said He Said’ by Hanif Kureishi
  166. ‘The Pier Falls’ by Mark Haddon
  167. ‘Les Liaisons Dangereuses’ by Margaret Drabble
  168. ‘G-String’ by Nicola Barker
  169. ‘The Baby In Pink Tarlatan’ by Joaõ do Rio
  170. ‘The Path To The Cemetery’ by Thomas Mann
  171. ‘Louise’ by Somerset Maugham
  172. ‘Let Me Count The Times’ by Martin Amis
  173. ‘Wolf-Alice’ by Angela Carter
  174. ‘Nadine At Forty’ by Hilary Mantel
  175. ‘Night Calls’ by Lisa Fugard
  176. ‘The Married Couple’ by Franz Kafka
  177. ‘Everything In This Country Must’ by Colum McCann
  178. ‘A Dead Cert’ by Sean O’Faolain
  179. ‘The Poteen Maker’ by Michael McLaverty
  180. ‘Who’s-Dead McCarthy’ by Kevin Barry
  181. ‘The Curfew’ by Roddy Doyle
  182. ‘Everything’ by Ingeborg Bachmann
  183. ‘The Sacrificial Egg’ by Chinua Achebe
  184. ‘Madame de Luzy’ by Anatole France
  185. ‘A Small Sacrifice For An Enormous Happiness’ by Jai


  1. ‘A Wedding-Dress’ by Morley Callaghan
  2. ‘Aftermath’ by Mary Yukari Waters
  3. ‘American Dreams’ by Peter Carey
  4. ‘Weekend’ by Shirley Hazzard
  5. ‘The Homecoming’ by Rabindraneth Tagore
  6. ‘The Destiny Of A Professor’s Wife’ by Daniil Kharms
  7. ‘On The Golden Porch’ by Tatyana Tolstaya
  8. ‘A Drama’ by Anton Chekhov
  9. ‘Little Whale, Varnisher Of Reality’ by Vasily Aksenov
  10. ‘Rapture’ by Anton Chekhov
  11. ‘Meat’ by Virgilio Piñera
  12. ‘The Chicken’ by Clarice Lispector
  13. ‘Decoration Day’ by Sarah Orne Jewett
  14. ‘Penelope’ by Dalton Trevisan
  15. ‘The Night Face Up’ by Julio Cortázar
  16. ‘The State Of Nature’ by Camille Bordas
  17. ‘In The Shadow Of War’ by Ben Okri
  18. ‘The Adopted Son’ by Guy de Maupassant
  19. ‘Tell Them Not To Kill Me!’ by Juan Rulfo
  20. ‘The Switchman’ by Juan José Arreola
  21. ‘Kew Gardens’ by Virginia Woolf
  22. ‘Love Far From Home’ by Italo Calvino
  23. ‘Jewellery’ by Alberto Moravia
  24. ‘The Mystery Of Hunter’s Lodge’ by Agatha Christie
  25. ‘A Haunted House’ by Virginia Woolf
  26. ‘Phantoms’ by Ivan Turgenev
  27. ‘The Hawk’ by Liam O’Flaherty
  28. ‘Work, Death, And Sickness’ by Leo Tolstoy
  29. ‘As You Would Have Told It To Me (Sort Of) If We Had Known Each Other Before You Died’ by Jonas Hassen Khemiri
  30. ‘The Shinagawa Monkey’ by Haruki Murakami
  31. ‘The Yellow Paint’ by Robert Louis Stevenson
  32. ‘The Dinner’ by Clarice Lispector
  33. ‘Spirit Of Christmas’ by Jeanette Winterson
  34. ‘The Crystal Egg’ by H.G. Wells
  35. ‘The Lamp’ by Agatha Christie
  36. ‘Offside Constantly’ by Camille Bordas
  37. ‘Helix’ by Banana Yoshimoto
  38. ‘One Arm’ by Yasunari Kawabata
  39. ‘Legend For A Painting’ by Julia O’Faolain
  40. ‘On The Empty Shore’ by Seosamh Mac Grianna
  41. ‘Our Sleeping Lungs Opened To The Cold’ by Elizabeth Tan
  42. ‘You Are Happy?’ by Akhil Sharma
  43. ‘Click-Clack The Rattlebag’ by Neil Gaiman
  44. ‘XII’ by Nathalie Sarraute
  45. ‘Fly Already’ by Etgar Keret
  46. ‘Why I Became A Nightingale’ by Wolfgang Hildesheimer
  47. ‘The Hotel’ by Anne Enright
  48. ‘Aspic’ by Tatyana Tolstaya
  49. ‘My Life Is A Joke’ by Sheila Heti
  50. ‘The Hammam’ by Hervé Guibert
  51. ‘The Gentle Libertine’ by Colette
  52. ‘He Who Listens May Hear – To His Regret: Confidence Of A Confidence’ by Juana Manuela Gorriti
  53. ‘The Stump-Grubber’ by Torgny Lindgren
  54. ‘The Little Green Monster’ by Haruki Murakami
  55. ‘A Leading Role’ by Tove Jansson
  56. ‘My Financial Career’ by Stephen Leacock
  57. ‘The Legend Of ‘El Cadejo’’ by Miguel Angel Asturias
  58. ‘(She Owns) Every Thing’ by Anne Enright
  59. ‘The Braider’ by Ricardo Güiraldes
  60. ‘The Dark Lantern’ by Jules Renard
  61. ‘How To Travel With A Salmon’ by Umberto Eco

As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.

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