The Short Stories


Ian McEwan - 1975
    The former was awarded the Somerset Maugham Award.

The Death of Mr. Baltisberger


Bohumil Hrabal - 1966
    Baltisberger, the fourteen stories in Romance showcase the breadth of Bohumil Hrabal’s considerable gifts: his humor of the grotesque, his often surprising warmth, and his hard-edged, fast-paced style. In the story "Romance," a plumber’s apprentice and a gypsy girl reach toward a tentative connection across the chasm that separates their worlds. Another unlikely love story, "World Cafeteria," features a romance between a young man whose girlfriend has just committed suicide and a bride whose husband lands in jail on their wedding night. The tone turns to the absurd in "The Death of Mr. Baltisberger," where a crippled ex-motorcyclist and three people he meets at the track exchange wildly improbably reminiscences, while a fatal Grand Prix motorcycle race rages around them. Hrabal’s psychological insight into quotidian interactions saturates stories such as "A Dull Afternoon," where a mysterious, self-absorbed stranger disrupts the psychic calm of a neighborhood tavern and becomes the silent catalyst for an unwanted truth. Throughout the collection, noted translator Michael Henry Heim captures the quirky speech patterns and idiosyncratic takes on life that have made Hrabal’s characters an indispensable part of world literature.

The Brigadier and the Golf Widow


John Cheever - 1964
    This new collection of sixteen stories reveals John Cheever's expertness employed with greater power to even more impressive effect than heretofore.

A Sudden Liberating Thought


Kjell Askildsen - 1994
    Askildsen (b. 1929) first came to prominence in Norwegian literature in the 1950s with his Kafkaesque accounts of alienated individuals in a hostile environment. His reputation has grown since and he is now recognized as a major author. A recent translation of Askildsen's writing into French invited comparison with Beckett.

The Lagoon: A Collection of Short Stories


Janet Frame - 1951
    It won the Hubert Church Award, and a threatened brain operation was averted. These stories bring into focus a crucial turning point in her life.

Four Corners Familiars 3: Blumfeld, an Elderly Bachelor


Franz Kafka - 1915
    To his great irritation, these balls follow Blumfeld--who is a stickler for absolute order in his universe--wherever he goes, and his attempts to divest himself of their presence are described with Kafka's customary flair for the detached observation of the extremely bizarre. Musgrave has responded to Kafka's story with a series of pencil drawings of curious artifacts and pseudo-archaeological fragments of his own invention. Combined with John Morgan's austere design--which finds the book typeset in Kafka's preferred font and large type size, which he was never able to see printed in his lifetime--this volume almost feels like a case study of some unique bygone supernatural phenomenon.

Four Bare Legs in a Bed


Helen Simpson - 1990
    Short stories about mixed blessings of independence and marriage, sex and babies.

Learning to Swim: And Other Stories


Graham Swift - 1982
    In Graham Swift's taut prose, these quiet combative relationships--between a mismatched couple; an aging doctor and his hypochondriacal patient; a teenage refugee swept up in the conflict between an oppressively sentimental father and his rebellious son--become a microcosm for all human cruelty and need."Swift proves throughout this ambitious collection that he is a master of his language and the construction of provocative situations."--Houston Chronicle

The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls


J.D. Salinger
    This story is available only in the Princeton library. Those who wish to read it must check in with two forms of ID with the librarian, and are then supervised while they read the story behind the closed doors of a special reading room. As per the terms of Salinger's donation of the manuscript to Princeton, it cannot be published until 50 years after his death; thus, the earliest it can be published is January 27, 2060. (Princeton Library guide pg. 2 line 5).

The Collected Stories of Joseph Roth


Joseph Roth - 2001
    Spanning the entire range of Roth's brief life (1894-1939) and showcasing the breadth of his literary powers, this collection features many stories just recently discovered. Roth's novellas and short stories will rank with Chekhov's as among the greatest of modern literature.

Captain Maximus


Barry Hannah - 1985
    hard drinkers, passionate lovers, good haters, living on the edge, hurling fury at a complacent world."

Las hortensias y otros cuentos


Felisberto Hernández - 1949
    As with his predecessors in the -genre of the strange- Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, Nikolai Gogol, Edgar Allan Poe and Franz Kafka, the apparent eccentricities in Felisberto Hernandez's stories create a coherent system of allusions and correspondences, a system that reaches its summit in masterpieces such as -Las Hortensias- and -La casa inundada-. As Hoffmann, who preceded him, and Cortazar, who followed, Felisberto turned away from the literary trends of his times and departed on his own journey, undertaking the task of redefining the human being and replacing the accepted notion of material reality with what he called -the mystery-: small and deep daily realities that fall outside an ever narrowing focus on the homogenous and utilitarian. A trained musician and composer, Felisberto elaborated his literary compositions as musical structures, based on the relations among notes and phrases. Thus, Felisberto Hernandez's short stories cannot be approached and read as isolated pieces if the reader intends to grasp the complexity lying deep below the surface. In this edition Ana Maria Hernandez -who bears the same name as Felisbertos' second daughter and teaches Advanced Spanish Composition at CUNY- analyzes the gradual development of Felisberto's theory and praxis of composition by commenting on his most representative short stories and emphasizing the intertextuality of the recurring symbols and themes throughout his literary production. This approach transforms this edition in an exceptional basis for Creative Writing and Advanced Spanish Composition courses, exposing students to texts that exerted a noticeable influence upon acclaimed writers such as Julio Cortazar -his biggest fan- Juan Carlos Onetti, and Italo Calvino, and provoked one of the biggest critical blunders by the otherwise sharp critic Emir Rodriguez Monegal."

The Wings


Yi Sang - 1936
    "The Wings," a dark allegory of infidelity and self-deception, probes the ambiguities of perception and language through an unreliable narrator who bears an uncanny resemblance to the author himself. "Encounters and Departures," a tale of ill-fated love revolving around erotic passion and physical illness as metaphors presents a female protagonist modelled on the woman who was, in real life, the author's muse and femme fatale. Similarly, in "Deathly Child," Yi, Sang offers a witty, incisive examination of sexual mores through a fictional reenactment of his ambivalent feelings toward the woman he married toward the end of his life.

At the Hairdresser's


Anita Brookner - 2011
    Written to be read over a long commute or a short journey, they are original and exclusively in digital form. This is a poignant novella from Anita Brookner. 'I rather hope I shall die at the hairdresser's, for they are bound to know what to do. At least that is what I tell myself.' Solitude is a familiar burden for Elizabeth Warner. She lives in a basement flat near Victoria and leaves the house only to go shopping and to have her hair done - until a chance encounter at the hairdresser's brings unexpected change. At the Hairdresser's is a deeply moving, unflinchingly observed story about trust and betrayal by one of the greatest writers of contemporary fiction.

Finn's Hotel


James Joyce - 1923
    Finn's Hotel is a luminous and often funny work, and it reveals Joyce's creative process during the transition between Ulysses and Finnegans Wake.