July 2016 favorites


July 2016

The July stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Blight’ by Stuart Dybek
  2. ‘The Lesson’ by Jessamyn West
  3. ‘Pet Milk’ by Stuart Dybek
  4. ‘Nachman’ by Leonard Michaels
  5. ‘A Day In The Country’ by Anton Chekhov
  6. ‘The Bet’ by Anton Chekhov
  7. ‘Mr. Parker’ by Laurie Colwin
  8. ‘Bottle Caps’ by Stuart Dybek
  9. ‘The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas’ by Ursula K. Le Guin
  10. ‘The Valiant Woman’ by J.F. Powers
  11. ‘Chopin In Winter’ by Stuart Dybek
  12. ‘The Leader Of The People’ by John Steinbeck
  13. ‘Fat And Thin’ by Anton Chekhov
  14. ‘Farwell’ by Stuart Dybek
  15. ‘The Lottery Ticket’ by Anton Chekhov
  16. ‘The Writer’s Trade’ by Nicholas Delbanco
  17. ‘Chameleon’ by Anton Chekhov

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

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

‘City Boy’ by Leonard Michaels

Michaels, Leonard 1969

City Boy by Leonard Michaels, 1969

The magic trick:

Broadening the scope of the character and story by including the narrators interactions with the ticket taker and elevator operator

“City Boy” packs a ton of ideas, emotions, and contradictions into a small space. The storyline involving Phillip, the narrator, and his girlfriend would be amusing and interesting enough on its own. Michaels, never one to settle for the surface of things, deftly adds a wrinkle to the story by including interactions between Phillip and, first, Ludwig the elevator operator, and, then, a ticket taker in the subway. Very quickly, the story is about social class, social insecurity, and the anger, guilt, and jealousy that bubble out of such themes. It’s not unlike Philip Roth’s “Goodbye Columbus,” though it accomplishes such ideas in far fewer words. And that’s quite a trick on Michaels’s part.

The selection:

I crouched as if to dash through the turnstile. He crouched, too. It proved he would come after me. I shrugged, turned back toward the steps. The city was infinite. There were many other subways. But why had he become so angry? Did he think I was a bigot? Maybe I was running around naked to get him upset. His anger was incomprehensible otherwise. It made me feel like a bigot. First a burglar, then a bigot. I needed a cigarette. I could hardly breathe. Air was too good for me. At the top of the steps, staring down, stood Veronica. She had my clothes.