May 2018 favorites

May 2018

The May stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘The Man Of The World’ by Frank O’Connor
  2. ‘Irish Revel’ by Edna O’Brien
  3. ‘Sister Imelda’ by Edna O’Brien
  4. ‘Summer Voices’ by John Banville
  5. ‘Villa Marta’ by Clare Boylan
  6. ‘Innocence’ by Sean O’Faolain
  7. ‘The Widow’ by Edna O’Brien
  8. ‘A Rose In The Heart Of New York’ by Edna O’Brien
  9. ‘An Attack Of Hunger’ by Maeve Brennan
  10. ‘The Road To The Shore’ by Michael McLaverty
  11. ‘Bullfighting’ by Roddy Doyle
  12. ‘Deer Season’ by Kevin Barry
  13. ‘Nightfall’ by Daniel Corkery
  14. ‘Brother’ by Edna O’Brien
  15. ‘Solstice’ by Anne Enright
  16. ‘Anhedonia, Here I Come’ by Colin Barrett

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

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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.

December 2015 favorites

December2015

December 2015

The December stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Christmas Morning’ by Frank O’Connor
  2. ‘Drawing Names’ by Bobbie Ann Mason
  3. ‘The Frozen Fields’ by Paul Bowles
  4. ‘Tenth Of December’ by George Saunders
  5. ‘Christmas’ by Vladimir Nabokov
  6. ‘The Birds For Christmas’ by Mark Richard
  7. ‘Every Little Hurricane’ by Sherman Alexie
  8. ‘An Old-Time Christmas’ by Paul Laurence Dunbar
  9. ‘Two Of A Kind’ by Sean O’Faolain
  10. ‘Christmas For Sassafrass, Cypress And Indigo’ by Ntozake Shange
  11. ‘Family Christmas’ by Roxana Robinson
  12. ‘A Visit From Saint Nicholas (In The Ernest Hemingway Manner)’ by James Thurber
  13. ‘Creche’ by Richard Ford
  14. ‘The Christmas Tree’ by Charles Dickens
  15. ‘A Kidnapped Santa Claus’ by L. Frank Baum
  16. ‘Xmas’ by Thomas M. Disch
  17. ‘Christmas Every Day’ by William Dean Howells
  18. ‘Auggie Wren’s Christmas Story’ by Paul Auster
  19. ‘Falalalalalalalala’ by Nikki Giovanni
  20. ‘Old Christmas’ by Stephen Merion

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

‘Lovers Of The Lake’ by Sean O’Faolain

Sean O'Faolain, 1957 No credit necessary

Lovers Of The Lake by Sean O’Faolain, 1957

The magic trick:

Using the island retreat as a setting to expand the storys meaning

In many ways, this story’s foundation is a standard-issue messy love triangle. A woman is approaching middle age and finds herself dissatisfied by both her marriage and her long-term affair. Nothing particularly original there.

What sets this story apart is its setting. O’Faolain sends his protagonists to a three-day religious retreat on an island, complete with fasting and prayer chants. This allows him to throw all kinds of new elements into the mix – not the least of which is religion, the faith vs. flesh debate, and an array of memorable images and metaphors.

The story takes on a dreamlike quality, and the ambiguous ending leaves the reader lost in the Irish mists, trying to figure out what it all means. And that’s quite a trick on O’Faolain’s part.

The selection:

She saw him twice before the dusk thickened and the day grew cold again with the early sunset. He was sitting directly opposite her before the men’s hostel, smoking, staring at the ground between his legs. They sat facing one another. They were separated by their identities, joined by their love.