The Moment of Tenderness


Madeleine L'Engle - 2020
    In a selection of eighteen stories discovered by one of L'Engle's granddaughters, we see how L'Engle's personal experiences and abiding faith informed the creation of her many cherished works. Some of these stories have never been published; others were refashioned into scenes for her novels and memoirs. Almost all were written in the 1940s and '50s, from Madeleine's college years until just before the publication of A Wrinkle in Time. From realism to science-fiction to fantasy, there is something for everyone in this magical collection.

Manhattan Monologues: Stories


Louis Auchincloss - 2002
    Now, in his fifty-seventh book, Louis Auchincloss delivers a brilliant collection of ten new, previously unpublished, stories; once again, he unfailingly "voices truths with elegant precision" (Publishers Weekly). MANHATTAN MONOLOGUES charts a colorful New York century through a series of personal accounts from the rarefied circle that fills Auchincloss's best short fiction. Here are characters who confidently finesse their way through society's uppermost tiers and yet are just as easily undone by the smallest upset in a day. Like all of Auchincloss's richest creations, they bump up against their consciences, with often surprising results. What, for instance, is a woman to do when she must choose between true love and high society when making a marriage? How can a man stay true to himself, his family, and his country when it goes to war? How can a determined marriage broker salvage matters when the young man she has so painstakingly steered toward a love match becomes charmed by another woman? These tales, and many more, fashion a glamorous, yet all too human, societal portrait -- from the aristocratic loyalties of the early twentieth century to the complicated twists of modern-day mergers and acquisitions. MANHATTAN MONOLOGUES is Louis Auchincloss at his most clever, his most discerning, his best.

100 Years of The Best American Short Stories


Lorrie Moore - 2015
    For the centennial celebration of this beloved annual series, master of the form Lorrie Moore selects forty stories from the more than two thousand that were published in previous editions. Series editor Heidi Pitlor recounts behind-the-scenes anecdotes and examines, decade by decade, the trends captured over a hundred years. Together, the stories and commentary offer an extraordinary guided tour through a century of literature with what Moore calls “all its wildnesses of character and voice.” These forty stories represent their eras but also stand the test of time. Here is Ernest Hemingway’s first published story and a classic by William Faulkner, who admitted in his biographical note that he began to write “as an aid to love-making.” Nancy Hale’s story describes far-reaching echoes of the Holocaust; Tillie Olsen’s story expresses the desperation of a single mother; James Baldwin depicts the bonds of brotherhood and music. Here is Raymond Carver’s “minimalism,” a term he disliked, and Grace Paley’s “secular Yiddishkeit.” Here are the varied styles of Donald Barthelme, Charles Baxter, and Jamaica Kincaid. From Junot Díaz to Mary Gaitskill, from ZZ Packer to Sherman Alexie, these writers and stories explore the different things it means to be American. Moore writes that the process of assembling these stories allowed her to look “thrillingly not just at literary history but at actual history — the cries and chatterings, silences and descriptions of a nation in flux.” 100 Years of The Best American Short Stories is an invaluable testament, a retrospective of our country’s ever-changing but continually compelling literary artistry. LORRIE MOORE, after many years as a professor of creative writing at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, is now the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. Moore has received honors for her work, among them the Irish Times International Fiction Prize and a Lannan Foundation fellowship, as well as the PEN/Malamud Award and the Rea Award for her achievement in the short story. Her most recent novel, A Gate at the Stairs, was short-listed for the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction and for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and her most recent story collection, Bark, was short-listed for the Story Prize and the Frank O’Connor Award. HEIDI PITLOR is a former senior editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and has been the series editor of The Best American Short Stories since 2007. She is the author of the novels The Birthdays and The Daylight Marriage.

I'd Die for You and Other Lost Stories


F. Scott Fitzgerald - 2017
    Scott Fitzgerald, the iconic American writer of The Great Gatsby who is more widely read today than ever.I’d Die For You is a collection of the last remaining unpublished and uncollected short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald, edited by Anne Margaret Daniel. Fitzgerald did not design the stories in I’d Die For You as a collection. Most were submitted individually to major magazines during the 1930s and accepted for publication during Fitzgerald’s lifetime, but were never printed. Some were written as movie scenarios and sent to studios or producers, but not filmed. Others are stories that could not be sold because their subject matter or style departed from what editors expected of Fitzgerald. They date from the earliest days of Fitzgerald’s career to the last. They come from various sources, from libraries to private collections, including those of Fitzgerald’s family. Readers will experience Fitzgerald writing about controversial topics, depicting young men and women who actually spoke and thought more as young men and women did, without censorship. Rather than permit changes and sanitizing by his contemporary editors, Fitzgerald preferred to let his work remain unpublished, even at a time when he was in great need of money and review attention. “I’d Die For You,” the collection’s title story, is drawn from Fitzgerald’s stays in the mountains of North Carolina when his health, and that of his wife Zelda, was falling apart. With the addition of a Hollywood star and film crew to the Smoky Mountain lakes and pines, Fitzgerald brings in the cinematic world in which he would soon be living. Most of the stories printed here come from this time period, during the middle and late1930s, though the collection spans Fitzgerald’s career from 1920 to the end of his life. The book is subtitled And Other Lost Stories in recognition of an absence until now. Some of the eighteen stories were physically lost, coming to light only in the past few years. All were lost, in one sense or another: lost in the painful shuffle of the difficulties of Fitzgerald’s life in the middle 1930s; lost to readers because contemporary editors did not understand or accept what he was trying to write; lost because archives are like that, and good things can wait patiently in libraries for many centuries sometimes. I’d Die For You And Other Lost Stories echoes as well the nostalgia and elegy in Gertrude Stein’s famous phrase “a lost generation,” that generation for whom Fitzgerald was a leading figure. Written in his characteristically beautiful, sharp, and surprising language, exploring themes both familiar and fresh, these stories provide new insight into the bold and uncompromising arc of Fitzgerald’s career. I’d Die For You is a revealing, intimate look at Fitzgerald’s creative process that shows him to be a writer working at the fore of modern literature—in all its developing complexities.

The Isle of Youth: Stories


Laura van den Berg - 2013
    From a newlywed caught in an inscrutable marriage, to private eyes working a baffling case in South Florida, to a teenager who assists her magician mother and steals from the audience, the characters in these bewitching stories are at once vulnerable and dangerous, bighearted and ruthless, and they will do what it takes to survive.Each tale is spun with elegant urgency, and the reader grows attached to the marginalized young women in these stories—women grappling with the choices they've made and searching for the clues to unlock their inner worlds. This is the work of a fearless writer whose stories feel both magical and mystical, earning her the title of "sorceress" from her readers. Be prepared to fall under her spell. An NPR Best Book of 2013

The Stories of Richard Bausch


Richard Bausch - 2003
    A 2004 PEN/Malamud Award winner, this collection celebrates the work of American artist Richard Bausch -- a writer the New York Times calls "a master of the short story." By turns tender, raw, heartbreaking, and riotously funny, the many voices of this definitive forty-two-story collection (seven of which appear here for the first time) defy expectation, attest to Bausch's remarkable range and versatility, and affirm his place alongside such acclaimed story writers as John Cheever, Flannery O'Connor, Raymond Carver, and Grace Paley.

Werewolves in Their Youth


Michael Chabon - 1999
    Caught at moments of change, Chabon's men and women, children and husbands and wives, all face small but momentous decisions. They are caught in events that will crystallize and define their lives forever, and with each, Michael Chabon brings his unique vision and uncanny understanding of our deepest mysteries and our greatest fears.

You Won’t Remember This


Kate Blackwell - 2007
    Her wry, often darkly funny voice describes the repressed underside of a range of middle-class characters living in the South.

The Palace Thief


Ethan Canin - 1994
    . . [Ethan Canin is] a writer of enormous talent and charm.”–The Washington Post“Character is destiny,” wrote Heraclitus–and in this collection of four unforgettable stories, we meet people struggling to understand themselves and the unexpected turns their lives have taken. In “Accountant,” a quintessential company man becomes obsessed with the phenomenal success of a reckless childhood friend. “Batorsag and Szerelem” tells the story of a boy’s fascination with the mysterious life and invented language of his brother, a math prodigy. In “City of Broken Hearts,” a divorced father tries to fathom the patterns of modern relationships. And in “The Palace Thief,” a history teacher at an exclusive boarding school reflects on the vicissitudes of a lifetime connection with a student scoundrel. A remarkable achievement by one of America’s finest writers, this brilliant volume reveals the moments of insight that illuminate everyday lives.“Captivating . . . a heartening tribute to the form . . . an exquisite performance.”–The Boston Sunday Globe“A model of wit, wisdom, and empathy. Chekhov would have appreciated its frank renderings and quirky ironies.”–Chicago Tribune

The Redemption of Galen Pike


Carys Davies - 2014
    A Quaker spinster offers companionship to a condemned man in a Colorado jail. In the ice and snows of Siberia an office employee from Birmingham witnesses a scene that will change her life. At a jubilee celebration in a northern English town a middle-aged alderman opens his heart to Queen Victoria. A teenage daughter leaves home in search of adventure. High in the Cumbrian fells a woman seeks help from her father’s enemy.Spare, precise, charged with a prickly wit, the stories in Carys Davies's sparkling second collection remind us how little we know of the lives of others.

Open Secrets


Alice Munro - 1994
    She tells of vanished schoolgirls and indentured frontier brides and an eccentric recluse who, in the course of one surpassingly odd dinner party, inadvertently lands herself a wealthy suitor from exotic Australia. And Munro shows us how one woman's romantic tale of capture and escape in the high Balkans may end up inspiring another woman who is fleeing a husband and lover in present-day Canada.

The Stories of John Cheever


John Cheever - 1978
    James's --The worm in the apple --The trouble of Marcie Flint --The bella lingua --The Wrysons --The country husband --The duchess --The scarlet moving van --Just tell me who it was --Brimmer --The golden age --The lowboy --The music teacher --A woman without a country --The death of Justina --Clementina --Boy in Rome --A miscellany of characters that will not appear --The chimera --The seaside houses --The angel of the bridge --The brigadier and the golf widow --A vision of the world --Reunion --An educated American woman --Metamorphoses --Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin --Montraldo --The ocean --Marito in città --The geometry of love --The swimmer --The world of apples --Another story --Percy --The fourth alarm --Artemis, the honest well digger --Three stories --The jewels of the Cabots.

I Am an Executioner: Love Stories


Rajesh Parameswaran - 2012
    From the lovesick tiger who narrates the unforgettable opener, “The Infamous Bengal Ming” (he mauls his zookeeper out of affection), to the ex-CompUSA employee who masquerades as a doctor; from a railroad manager in a turn-of-the-century Indian village, to an elephant writing her autobiography; from a woman whose Thanksgiving preparations put her husband to eternal rest, to the newlywed executioner of the title, these characters inhabit a marvelous region between desire and death, playfulness and violence. At once glittering and savage, daring and elegant, here are wholly unforgettable tales where reality loops in Borgesian twists and shines with cinematic exuberance, by an author who promises to dazzle the universe of American fiction.

The Complete Short Stories: Volume One 1944-1953


Roald Dahl - 2012
    In this, the first of two volumes chronologically collecting all his published adult short stories, we see how Dahl began by using his experiences in the war to write fiction but quickly turned to his powerful and dark imagination to pen some of the most unsettling and disquieting tales ever written.In 27 stories, written between 1944 and 1953, we encounter such classic tales as 'Man from the South', featuring a wager with appalling consequences; 'Lamb to the Slaughter', in which a wife murders her husband yet has a novel idea for throwing the police off the scent; and in 'The Sound Machine', the horrific truth about plants is revealed.Enter the sinister, twisted world of Roald Dahl: whether you're young or old, you'll never want to leave.'Roald Dahl is one of the few writers I know whose work can accurately be described as addictive' Irish Times'The great magician' SpectatorLook out for Volume Two, introduced by Anthony Horowitz Roald Dahl, the brilliant and worldwide acclaimed author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, and many more classics for children, also wrote scores of short stories for adults. These delightfully disturbing tales have often been filmed and were most recently the inspiration for the West End play, Roald Dahl's Twisted Tales by Jeremy Dyson. Roald Dahl's stories continue to make readers shiver today.

The Liar's Wife: Four Novellas


Mary Gordon - 2014
    These narratives dazzle on the surface with beautifully rendered settings and vistas, and dig deep psychologically. At every turn, Mary Gordon reveals in her characters’ interactions those crucial flashes of understanding that change lives forever. So richly developed it’s hard to believe they fit into novella-size packages, these tales carry us away both as individual stories and as a larger experience of Gordon’s literary mastery and human sympathy.The liar's wife --Simone Weil in New York --Thomas Mann in Gary, Indiana --Fine art