December 2018 favorites

December 2018

The December stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Unlighted Lamps’ by Sherwood Anderson
  2. ‘The Doll’ by Edna O’Brien
  3. ‘Flowers For Algernon’ by Daniel Keyes
  4. ‘Homecoming’ by William Maxwell
  5. ‘Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie’ by Beryl Bainbridge
  6. ‘The Christmas Miracle’ by Rebecca Curtis
  7. ‘Christmas Longings’ by Elizabeth Spencer
  8. ‘The Enchanted Bluff’ by Willa Cather
  9. ‘New York Mining Disaster’ by Haruki Murakami
  10. ‘Christmas Song’ by Langston Hughes
  11. ‘Present For Joyce’ by Langston Hughes
  12. ‘Lost In The City’ by Edward P. Jones
  13. ‘The Cat’ by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
  14. ‘Leg’ by Stephen Polansky
  15. ‘The Cold Outside’ by John Burnside
  16. ‘Stuff’ by Joy Williams
  17. ‘Horatio’s Trick’ by Ann Beattie
  18. ‘The Night Of Chancellorsville’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  19. ‘Home For Christmas’ by Jeffrey Shaffer

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

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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

‘Train’ by Joy Williams

Williams, Joy 1971

Train by Joy Williams, 1972

The magic trick:

The relationship between Danica and Janes father, Mr. Muirhead

While it is not necessarily central to the story’s main themes, I very much enjoyed the relationship between Danica and Jane’s father, Mr. Muirhead. They share a quiet sympathy, in spite of their only-casual connection. Over what do they bond? Their mutual contempt for Jane. This is especially interesting to me, as I am peculiarly fascinated by parents whose resentment for their significant other seeps into their relationship with their child. I’m not sure why – it has just always interested me. It’s such a sad, selfish thing that adults do, and this is a classic case. And that’s quite a trick on Williams’s part.

The selection:

“Do you think Jane and I will be friends forever?” Dan asked.

Mr. Muirhead looked surprised. “Definitely not. Jane will not have friends. Jane will have husbands, enemies and lawyers.” He cracked ice noisily with his white teeth. “I’m glad you enjoyed your summer, Dan, and I hope you’re enjoying your childhood. When you grow up, a shadow falls. Everything’s sunny and then this big Goddamn wing or something passes overhead.”

“Oh,” Dan said.