September 2017

September 2017

The September stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Daylight Come’ by Amy Hempel
  2. ‘Last Evenings On Earth’ by Roberto Bolaño
  3. ‘The Toughest Indian In The World’ by Sherman Alexie
  4. ‘Other Women’ by Stephanie Vaughn
  5. ‘New York Day Women’ by Edwidge Danticat
  6. ‘The Harvest’ by Amy Hempel
  7. ‘Phone Calls’ by Roberto Bolaño
  8. ‘Rapture Of The Deep’ by Amy Hempel
  9. ‘Mauricio (‘The Eye’) Silva’ by Roberto Bolaño
  10. ‘Tom-Rock Through The Eels’ by Amy Hempel
  11. ‘The Lady’s Maid’ by Katherine Mansfield
  12. ‘The Wind-Up Bird And Tuesday’s Women’ by Haruki Murakami
  13. ‘Son Of The Wolfman’ by Michael Chabon
  14. ‘Days Of 1978’ by Roberto Bolaño
  15. ‘Henri Simon Leprince’ by Roberto Bolaño
  16. ‘And Lead Us Not Into Penn Station’ by Amy Hempel
  17. ‘Soldiers’ by Ellease Southerland
  18. ‘At The Animal Shelter’ by Amy Hempel
  19. ‘Murder’ by Amy Hempel

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

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April 2017 favorites

april2017

April 2017

The April stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ by Hans Christian Andersen
  2. ‘The Garden Party’ by Katherine Mansfield
  3. ‘The Dinner Party’ by Joshua Ferris
  4. ‘The Party’ by Anton Chekhov
  5. ‘The Red Bow’ by George Saunders
  6. ‘Ranch Girl’ by Maile Meloy
  7. ‘Stitches’ by Antonya Nelson
  8. ‘Communist’ by Richard Ford
  9. ‘Malta Sheffer’ by Nelson Eubanks
  10. ‘A Short Walk From The Station’ by John O’Hara
  11. ‘Disguised’ by Isaac Bashevis Singer
  12. ‘Incarnations Of Burned Children’ by David Foster Wallace

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.

November 2016 favorites

november2016

November 2016

The November stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘The Tree Line, Kansas, 1934’ by David Means
  2. ‘The Gift’ by John Steinbeck
  3. ‘Dance Of The Happy Shades’ by Alice Munro
  4. ‘Gloomy Tune’ by Grace Paley
  5. ‘Mastiff’ by Joyce Carol Oates
  6. ‘The Contest’ by Grace Paley
  7. ‘At The Bay’ by Katherine Mansfield
  8. ‘War Dances’ by Sherman Alexie
  9. ‘The Shining Houses’ by Alice Munro
  10. ‘An Honest Woman’ by Ottessa Moshfegh
  11. ‘Night Women’ by Edwidge Danticat
  12. ‘A Presidential Candidate’ by Mark Twain
  13. ‘Wants’ by Grace Paley
  14. ‘Love’ by Grace Paley
  15. ‘Debts’ by Grace Paley

September 2015 favorites

september2015

September 2015

The September stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘The Doll’s House’ by Katherine Mansfield
  2. ‘Walk In The Moon Shadows’ by Jesse Stuart
  3. ‘The Baby In The Icebox’ by James M. Cain
  4. ‘The Horse Dealer’s Daughter’ by D.H. Lawrence
  5. ‘The Rescue’ by V.S. Pritchett
  6. ‘A Complicated Nature’ by William Trevor
  7. ‘The Standard Of Living’ by Dorothy Parker
  8. ‘Children Of The Sea’ by Edwidge Danticat
  9. ‘The Provincials’ by Daniel Alarcon
  10. ‘Eatonville Anthology’ by Zora Neale Hurston
  11. ‘Birdsong’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  12. ‘The Letter Writers’ by Elizabeth Taylor
  13. ‘The There There’ by Antonya Nelson
  14. ‘Winter In Yalta’ by Antonya Nelson
  15. ‘The Bowl’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  16. ‘Funny Once’ by Antonya Nelson
  17. ‘Literally’ by Antonya Nelson
  18. ‘Death Constant Beyond Love’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  19. ‘A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud’ by Carson McCullers
  20. ‘The Jungle’ by Elizabeth Bowen
  21. ‘Quality Time’ by Richard Ford
  22. ‘The Gully’ by Russell Banks
  23. ‘Inventing Wampanoag, 1672’ by Ben Shattuck

 

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

‘The Fly’ by Katherine Mansfield

Mansfield, Katherine 1921

The Fly by Katherine Mansfield, 1922

The magic trick:

Anthropomorphizing a flys struggle to live

In what is a very creepy and unsettling scene, Mansfield details a fly’s struggle to live even as man is continually pelting it with ink. The man, as the reader learns during the first half of the story, has struggled to find happiness in the six years since his son was killed in the war. His plight serves to anthropomorphize the fly, making the entire scene very sad and almost distasteful. The fly survives one spot of ink, washes itself, and prepares to fly away, only to have the man drop more ink on its wings, restarting the cycle. Is the man seeking inspiration from the fly’s ability to persevere? Is the man simply taking out his own agony on a defenseless creature? If the fly is a stand-in for the man’s pain, does this mean Mansfield is suggesting that the man is a victim of his own torture? Clearly, it’s a very thought-provoking scene. Very memorable. And that’s quite a trick on the part of Mansfield.

The selection:

He’s a plucky little devil, thought the boss, and he felt a real admiration for the fly’s courage. That was the way to tackle things; that was the right spirit. Never say die; it was only a question of … But the fly had again finished its laborious task, and the boss had just time to refill his pen, to shake fair and square on the new-cleaned body yet another dark drop. What about it this time? A painful moment of suspense followed.

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