May 2023 favorites

May 2023

The May stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘A Strange And Sometimes Sadness’ by Kazuo Ishiguro
  2. ‘Some Of Us Had Been Threatening Our Friend Colby’ by Donald Barthelme
  3. ‘My Father’s Friends’ by William Maxwell
  4. ‘The Young Painters’ by Nicole Krauss
  5. ‘The First Day’ by Edward P. Jones
  6. ‘The Things They Carried’ by Tim O’Brien
  7. ‘Panther Eyes’ by Luisa Valenzuela
  8. ‘The Baby Party’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  9. ‘The War Of The Alligators’ by Horacio Quiroga
  10. ‘New York Girl’ by John Updike
  11. ‘Baster’ by Jeffrey Eugenides
  12. ‘Circus At Dawn’ by Thomas Wolfe
  13. ‘Future Cat’ by Xuan Juliana Wang
  14. ‘A Nursery Tale’ by Vladimir Nabokov
  15. ‘The Sorrows Of Gin’ by John Cheever
  16. ‘Tomorrow’ by Lu Xun
  17. ‘Apple Cake’ by Allegra Goodman
  18. ‘When We Were Happy We Had Other Names’ by Yiyun Li
  19. ‘Everything Is Far From Here’ by Cristina Henríquez
  20. ‘The Flood’ by Emile Zola
  21. ‘Now More Than Ever’ by Zadie Smith
  22. ‘Talpa’ by Juan Rulfo
  23. ‘Gideon’ by ZZ Packer
  24. ‘Alms’ by Stuart Dybek
  25. ‘They Tell Me… Now I Know’ by Shay Youngblood
  26. ‘In The West Country’ by Leslie Norris
  27. ‘The Starlet Apartments’ by Jonathan Lethem
  28. ‘The Voter’ by Chinua Achebe
  29. ‘The $30,000 Bequest’ by Mark Twain
  30. ‘The Huntress’ by Sofia Samatar
  31. ‘Two Ruminations On A Homeless Brother’ by David Means

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

Subscribe to the Short Story Magic Tricks Monthly Newsletter to get the latest short story news, contests and fun.


March 2019 favorites

March 2019

The March stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘The Doll Queen’ by Carlos Fuentes
  2. ‘Mystery In São Cristóvão’ by Clarice Lispector
  3. ‘The Decapitated Chicken’ by Horacio Quiroga
  4. ‘Sansini’ by Roberto Bolaño
  5. ‘The Fifth Story’ by Clarice Lispector
  6. ‘The Balcony’ by Filisberto Hernández
  7. ‘The Photograph’ by Enrique Amorim
  8. ‘The Crime Of The Mathematics Professor’ by Clarice Lispector
  9. ‘Peace On High’ by Rómulo Gallegos
  10. ‘The Handsomest Drowned Man In The World’ by Gabriel García Márquez
  11. ‘A Sincere Friendship’ by Clarice Lispector
  12. ‘The Book Of Sand’ by Jorge Luis Borges
  13. ‘The Buffalo’ by Clarice Lispector
  14. ‘Who, Me A Bum?’ by Luisa Valenzuela
  15. ‘The Threshold’ by Cristina Peri Rossi

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

Subscribe to the Short Story Magic Tricks Monthly Newsletter to get the latest short story news, contests and fun.

July 2014 favorites


July 2014

The July stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

1.       ‘Hot Ice’ by Stuart Dybek
2.       ‘The Babysitter’ by Robert Coover
3.       ‘Jeeves And The Impending Doom’ by P.G. Wodehouse
4.       ‘A Solo Song: For Doc’ by James Alan McPherson
5.       ‘City Boy’ by Leonard Michaels
6.       ‘You’re Ugly, Too’ by Lorrie Moore
7.       ‘The Flats Road’ by Alice Munro
8.       ‘Greasy Lake’ by T. Coraghessan Boyle
9.       ‘Train’ by Joy Williams
10.     ‘Testimony Of Pilot’ by Barry Hannah
11.     ‘The Joy Luck Club’ by Amy Tan
12.    ‘Liars In Love’ by Richard Yates
13.     ‘How To Date A Brown Girl (Black Girl, White Girl, Or Halfie)’ by Junot Diaz
14.    ‘A Poetics For Bullies’ by Stanley Elkin
15.     ‘Greenwich Time’ by Ann Beattie
16.     ‘Pretty Ice’ by Mary Robison
17.     ‘Lechery’ by Jayne Anne Phillips
18.     ‘Here Come The Maples’ by John Updike
19.     ‘Territory’ by David Leavitt
20.     ‘Bridging’ by Max Apple
21.     ‘The Circling Hand’ by Jamaica Kincaid
22.     ‘Are These Actual Miles?’ by Raymond Carver
23.     ‘The Other Wife’ by Colette
24.     ‘A.V. Laider’ by Max Beerbohm
25.     ‘White Rat’ by Gayl Jones
26.     ‘Search Through The Streets Of The City’ by Irwin Shaw
27.     ‘The Dead Man’ by Horacio Quiroga
28.     ‘A Life In The Day Of A Writer’ by Tess Slesinger
29.     ‘In The Heart Of The Heart Of The Country’ by William Gass
30.     ‘The Indian Uprising’ by Donald Barthelme
31.     ‘The Facts Of Life’ by Somerset Maugham

‘The Dead Man’ by Horacio Quiroga

Quiroga, Horacio 1920

The Dead Man by Horacio Quiroga, 1920

The magic trick:

Brilliantly describing the process of dying without ever mentioning physical pain

Quiroga takes the reader through the final minutes of a man’s life, from accident to death. It’s an intense psychological trip through his final thoughts. Oddly enough, the whole thing is made all the more haunting – and realistic – by Quiroga’s omission of any mention of physical pain. And that’s quite a trick on Quiroga’s part.

The selection:

The proof? But he himself planted this grama grass that is poking between his lips in squares of land a meter apart! And that is his banana grove and that his starred mare snorting cautiously by the barbed wire! The horse sees him perfectly; he knows she doesn’t dare come around the corner of the fence since he himself is lying almost at the foot of the post. The man distinguishes her very well, and he sees the dark threads of sweat on her crupper and withers. The sun is as heavy as lead, and the calm is great; not a fringe of the banana trees is moving. Every day he has seen the same things.