Fiction

  • Close Range

    Annie Proulx

    sometimes i don’t know if it’s that the stories get better as they come or if it just takes a few to get into the general feel. having been in wyoming last year, it’s nice to have a sense of how attuned the descriptions of scenery and atmosphere are in this collection. the longer stories are easy favorites: “Pair of Spurs”...more

  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

    Betty Smith

    i’m surprised i never read this when i was younger, and reading it now, i wish i had read it then. it’s a coming-of-age story set in williamsburg (long before it was hip and fucked up) at the turn of the century. there are so many wonderful things about...more

  • Circling the Drain

    Amanda Davis

    it’s kind of morbid that i sought this book out after reading Davis’s obituary in march. she also published a novel entitled...more

  • Across the Bridge

    Mavis Gallant

    the april 2003 issue of Harper’s had a review of the two new collections of Gallan’s stories—being published by The New York Review of Books (...more

  • Sister of My Heart

    Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

    last summer, during my total short story fixation, i read The Unknown Errors of Our Lives, also by Divakaruni — it’s probably one of my favorite collections, so i was curious to read something else...more

  • The Sweet Hereafter

    Russell Banks

    i managed to rent this movie right when my roommate received the book as a gift. i didn’t really care for the movie at all. so much of the story seemed painfully undeveloped, major events slipped in casually and then never referenced again. reading the book, it...more

  • Invisible Cities

    Italo Calvino

    i just read this for the first time this past autumn, so this may constitute the fastest desire to re-read a book yet. it is just so vast and focused, beautiful, brilliant. it’s pointless for me to describe it as the words will probably just sound trite. a definite favorite....more

  • The Name of the Rose

    Umberto Eco

    i read a rather obscene amount of agatha christie in junior high, and i really haven’t read anything in that vein until this murder mystery, set in an italian abbey in the year 1327. this is a weightier story than most of those books i read back then — the history is amazingly researched. every detail is placed meticulously. the story...more

  • The Middleman and Other Stories

    Bharati Mukherjee

    directly after reading an alice munro book and the fantastic murakami collection, a moderately good group of short stories unfortunately suffers from comparative disappointment. this book had been recommended to me, and i just...more

  • Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage

    Alice Munro

    alice munro’s short stories are always so well-contained — rich with detail but no unnecessary words. as a collection, these stories are less linked than others of hers, but the stories have common themes to keep them together, most predictably relationships. munro’s style is so careful, subtly stunning. most times “nothing really...more

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