March 2016 favorites

March2016

March 2016

The March stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Dog Heaven’ by Stephanie Vaughn
  2. ‘A Country Doctor’ by Franz Kafka
  3. ‘The Judgment’ by Franz Kafka
  4. ‘Robert Kennedy Saved From Drowning’ by Donald Barthelme
  5. ‘The Hunger Artist’ by Franz Kafka
  6. ‘Blumfeld, An Elderly Bachelor’ by Franz Kafka
  7. ‘Herself In Love’ by Marianne Wiggins
  8. ‘Gorilla, My Love’ by Toni Cade Bambara
  9. ‘Her Son’ by Isaac Bashevis Singer
  10. ‘Niagara’ by Mark Twain
  11. ‘I Stand Here Ironing’ by Tillie Olsen
  12. ‘Dance In America’ by Lorrie Moore
  13. ‘The Working Girl’ by Ann Beattie
  14. ‘The World Of Apples’ by John Cheever
  15. ‘This Is A Story About My Friend George, The Toy Inventor’ by Grace Paley
  16. ‘A Little Woman’ by Franz Kafka

What do you think about this story? As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.

February 2016 favorites

Feb2016

February 2016

The February stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge’ by Ambrose Bierce
  2. ‘A Horseman In The Sky’ by Ambrose Bierce
  3. ‘Slave On The Block’ by Langston Hughes
  4. ‘The Celebrated Jumping Frog Of Calaveras County’ by Mark Twain
  5. ‘Killed At Resaca’ by Ambrose Bierce
  6. ‘Gimpel The Fool’ by Isaac Bashevis Singer
  7. ‘The Steadfast Tin Soldier’ by Hans Christian Andersen
  8. ‘Four Days In Dixie’ by Ambrose Bierce
  9. ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Love’ by Raymond Carver
  10. ‘The Offshore Pirate’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  11. ‘Me And Miss Mandible’ by Donald Barthelme
  12. ‘The Eighty-Yard Run’ by Irwin Shaw
  13. ‘A Baffled Ambuscade’ by Ambrose Bierce
  14. ‘Beginners’ by Raymond Carver
  15. ‘What We Don’t Know Hurts Us’ by Mark Schorer
  16. ‘Durling, Or The Faithless Wife’ by Sean O’Faolain
  17. ‘First Husband’ by Antonya Nelson
  18. ‘Somewhere Else’ by Grace Paley
  19. ‘Long Walk To Forever’ by Kurt Vonnegut
  20. ‘Zapatos’ by T. Coraghessan Boyle

What do you think about this list? As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.

November 2015 favorites

November2015

November 2015

The November stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘A Conversation With My Father’ by Grace Paley
  2. ‘The Warm Fuzzies’ by Chris Adrian
  3. ‘Kid MacArthur’ by Stephanie Vaughn
  4. ‘Kneel To The Rising Sun’ by Erskine Caldwell
  5. ‘Over The River And Through The Wood’ by John O’Hara
  6. ‘We’re On TV In The Universe’ by Stephanie Vaughn
  7. ‘Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog’ by Stephanie Vaughn
  8. ‘I Bought A Little City’ by Donald Barthelme
  9. ‘Sweet Talk’ by Stephanie Vaughn
  10. ‘Yao’s Chick’ by Max Apple
  11. ‘The Battle Of Fallen Timbers’ by Stephanie Vaughn
  12. ‘Collectors’ by Daniel Alarcon
  13. ‘The Great Mountains’ by John Steinbeck
  14. ‘Last Day In The Field’ by Caroline Gordon
  15. ‘Ann Mary; Her Two Thanksgivings’ by Mary Wilkins Freeman
  16. ‘Business Talk’ by Max Apple
  17. ‘Theft’ by Katherine Anne Porter
  18. ‘Zelig’ by Benjamin Rosenblatt
  19. ‘Brothers And Sisters Around The World’ by Andrea Lee
  20. ‘The Kitchen Baby’ by Angela Carter
  21. ‘The Best Girlfriend You Never Had’ by Pam Houston
  22. ‘Cinnamon’ by Neil Gaiman

April 2015 favorites

April2015

April 2015

The April stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Bullet In The Brain’ by Tobias Wolff
  2. ‘The Shawl’ by Cynthia Ozick
  3. ‘The Bath’ by Raymond Carver
  4. ‘The Five-Forty-Eight’ by John Cheever
  5. ‘The Living’ by Mary Lavin
  6. ‘Why Don’t You Dance?’ by Raymond Carver
  7. ‘Feathers’ by Raymond Carver
  8. ‘Death Of A Right Fielder’ by Stuart Dybek
  9. ‘Death Of A Traveling Salesman’ by Eudora Welty
  10. ‘Everything Stuck To Him’ by Raymond Carver
  11. ‘The Vertical Ladder’ by William Sansom
  12. ‘The Most Dangerous Game’ by Richard Connell
  13. ‘A Small, Good Thing’ by Raymond Carver
  14. ‘The Patented Gate And The Mean Hamburger’ by Robert Penn Warren
  15. ‘One Throw’ by W.C. Heinz
  16. ‘One Gram Short’ by Etgar Keret
  17. ‘Game’ by Donald Barthelme
  18. ‘Alibi Ike’ by Ring Lardner
  19. ‘Smoke’ by Michael Chabon
  20. ‘The Jewbird’ by Bernard Malamud
  21. ‘The Pitcher And The Plutocrat’ by P.G. Wodehouse
  22. ‘The Hitchhiking Game’ by Milan Kundera
  23. ‘Tony’s Wife’ by Alice Dunbar-Nelson
  24. ‘The Man Who Saw Through Heaven’ by Wilbur Daniel Steele

‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ by Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman, 1892

The magic trick:

Perfectly building tension as the narrators condition worsens

It’s not really fair to close Halloween week here at SSMT with “The Yellow Wallpaper.” After all, restricting this story to the genre of spooky thriller is a little like calling “Moby Dick” a damn swell action-adventure novel.

Still, I think that side of the story is the magic trick I want to explore. Of course, the story is a hallmark of American feminist literature – devastatingly restrained and sarcastic. But I think it is important to appreciate it as, yes, a straight-up haunting tale.

It reminds me of Henry James’ “A Turn Of The Screw,” in the way the narrator is presented as fairly normal and reliable at the outset only to descend into madness (or at least perceived madness). That gradual descent is the magic trick I most admire here. The narrator’s psychological voice is never anything but completely believable and the result is truly horrifying. That horror, of course, is what allows the feminist point to be brought home even stronger. And that’s quite a trick on Gilman’s part.

The selection:

Life is very much more exciting now than it used to be. You see I have something more to expect, to look forward to, to watch. I really do eat better, and am more quiet than I was.

John is so pleased to see me improve! He laughed a little the other day, and said I seemed to be flourishing in spite of my wallpaper.

I turned it off with a laugh. I had no intention of telling him it was because of the wallpaper – he would make fun of me. He might even want to take me away.

I don’t want to leave now until I have found it out. There is a week more, and I think that will be enough.

READ THIS STORY ONLINE

August 2014 favorites

august2014

August 2014

The August stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Bright And Morning Star’ by Richard Wright
  2. ‘Symbols And Signs’ by Vladimir Nabokov
  3. ‘The Chrysanthemums’ by John Steinbeck
  4. ‘Free Fruit For Young Widows’ by Nathan Englander
  5. ‘The School’ by Donald Barthelme
  6. ‘The Night The Bed Fell’ by James Thurber
  7. ‘My First Goose’ by Isaac Babel
  8. ‘The Wood Duck’ by James Thurber
  9. ‘The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty’ by James Thurber
  10. ‘The Fireman’s Wife’ by Richard Bausch
  11. ‘The Killers’ by Ernest Hemingway
  12. ‘In The Penal Colony’ by Franz Kafka
  13. ‘He’ by Katherine Anne Porter
  14. ‘The Rich Brother’ by Tobias Wolff
  15. ‘Lovers Of The Lake’ by Sean O’Faolain
  16. ‘First Love’ by Vladimir Nabokov
  17. ‘The Mysterious Kor’ by Elizabeth Bowen
  18. ‘Thirst’ by Ivo Andric
  19. ‘In Another Country’ by Ernest Hemingway
  20. ‘The Iron City’ by Lovell Thompson
  21. ‘Dusky Ruth’ by A.E. Coppard
  22. ‘The Odour Of Chrysanthemums’ by D.H. Lawrence
  23. ‘The Door’ by E.B. White
  24. ‘The Camberwell Beauty’ by V.S. Pritchett
  25. ‘The Fly’ by Katherine Mansfield
  26. ‘Christ In Concrete’ by Pietro di Donato
  27. ‘American Express’ by James Salter
  28. ‘The Piano’ by Anibal Monteiro Machado
  29. ‘The Greatest Man In The World’ by James Thurber
  30. ‘Men’ by Kay Boyle
  31. ‘A Couple Of Hamburgers’ by James Thurber