With the recent trend of short story collections exploring the darker parts of womanhood, it can be difficult to dedicate your time to one book out of all the overwhelming options. However, Armfield's descent into body horror, queer desire, and personal monstrosity stands out due to the delicious decay surrounding her prose. Perfect for fans of Daisy Johnson and Carmen Maria Machado.
One of the best books I read this year. Brinkley can illuminate and expose seemingly any corner of humanity, with equal compassion and precision. His writing is so powerful and graceful at once that it feels balletic, with a dancer's way of making an incredible feat seem simple and easy.
The epigraph of Edwidge Danticat's new story collection generously claims that everyone experiences diaspora, as we are exiled from our mother's body as soon as we are born. What follows are stories that strive to prove its' universality with equal attention to tenderness and brutality. In this collection that lingers on family and death, she has tapped directly into the core of human experience. This book will make you cry, probably in public, so prepare accordingly.
Do you like the Twilight Zone? Of course you do. But you might not know Richard Matheson. And you should, because arguably the most iconic episodes were adapted from his masterfully-written short fiction. Each story is so tightly crafted as to border on pulp, each ending twists with a stinger that demands your return. If I'm on a plane: 1) I have a Richard Matheson collection in my carry on and 2) I'm not going to look at the wing of the plane. Yeah. He wrote that.
Maybe you already know her short story "Cat Person," which captured a modern feeling—one that has barely begun to be put in print—so well I felt it in my body. There's more of those sickeningly visceral moments in this collection. The stories feel like urban legends stretched into something else, something you feel in the pit of your stomach and taste at the back of your mouth.
Chris Power made his literary bones as a critic, writing the long-running series "A Brief Survey of the Short Story" for the Guardian. It's no surprise, then, that the stories in his debut collection are marked by a quiet mastery of the form, as assured as it is unassuming. They tend to center on characters who could be described as searchers: travelers and tourists driven by mysterious motives, looking to cure some elusive lack in their lives. All this enigma rewards careful reading; the more you strain to understand these variously broken people, the more apparent the quality of the prose becomes. And as if all that wasn't enough, the book gets extra credit for having one of my favorite dust jacket designs in recent memory.
The stories in Friday Black are volatile, unpredictable concoctions. While reading them, I imagined author Nana Kwame Adeji-Brenyah as a mad scientist, mixing beakers with wild abandon: some societal critique here, a little gallows humor there, a dose of dystopian sci-fi just for kicks. The resulting stories feel just as likely to combust as they do to end. Adjei-Brenyah is among the most exciting new voices in fiction I've encountered all year, the heir apparent to Vonnegut and Saunders's tradition of dark, socially incisive postmodernism.
This book is a twisted bramble, ripe with grimy tales that really satisfy. Enriquez's voice entertains, educates, and terrifies. "I like dark themes,' she says, "...I would say it's my way of looking at things." amen, sister.
Denis Johnson is one of those authors I have a hard time talking about without lapsing into absurd superlatives, so I won't even try to restrain my praise for his latest (and, sadly, last) story collection. The title story alone is worth the price of admission, and ranks among the best short stories I have ever read; The Largesse of the Sea Maiden is as disarmingly funny and as sneakily sublime as anything Johnson has written. We are lucky that Denis Johnson, who sadly passed away last May, has graced us with this final masterpiece--it's as fine a swan song as any author could hope for.
Between her two latest books — this story collection and her similarly excellent 2015 novel Eileen —Ottessa Moshfegh has become one of my favorite fiction writers working today. The stories in Homesick for Another World are dark and unredemptive; they find humor in misery and relish abjection. They are peopled with characters riddled with shame and self-loathing, leading to bizarre and sometimes cruel behavior. They are, in short, probably not for everyone. But readers with a taste for the bitter stuff will find Moshfegh’s writing delightfully distasteful and full of surprising moments and incisive commentary.