Short stories

Too much American angst: the latest short stories reviewed

25 August 2018 9:00 am

In ‘A Prize for Every Player’ — one of 12 stories in Days of Awe, a new collection by A.M.…

David Sedaris, the current king of humorists, is often not funny at all

28 July 2018 9:00 am

Since the 17th century, a ‘humourist’ has been a witty person, and especially someone skilled in literary comedy. In 1871,…

A love letter to the short story

30 June 2018 9:00 am

On a recent Guardian podcast, Chris Power — who has written a short story column in the Guardian for a…

American Histories, by John Edgar Wideman, reviewed

16 June 2018 9:00 am

This new collection of John Edgar Wideman’s short stories comes across the pond as one of four handsomely packaged volumes…

William Trevor, photographed in 1993

The wilder shores of excess in William Trevor’s fiction

19 May 2018 9:00 am

A very prolific and long-standing writer of short stories reveals himself. William Trevor, who died in 2016, owned up to…

Denis Johnson: where pain and comedy collide

3 February 2018 9:00 am

The death of Denis Johnson last May marked the loss of a great original who catalogued the lives of junkies,…

The rich literature of the game of poker

2 December 2017 9:00 am

According to the subtitle, this is a collection of ‘short stories of long nights at the poker table’. Were that…

A choice of short stories

22 July 2017 9:00 am

It can’t be easy to switch between editing others people’s fiction and writing your own: how do you suspend that…

The blind boy who learnt to see with sound

20 February 2016 9:00 am

The deadline for Radio 2’s 500 Words competition falls next Thursday. Children between the ages of five and 13 are…

Time is of the essence in Helen Simpson’s Cockfosters

21 November 2015 9:00 am

Helen Simpson is not a prolific writer; six slim collections of short stories in 25 years, each timed quinquennially with…

Author Ken Kalfus (Photo: Getty)

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and other characters to make you cry with laughter

11 July 2015 9:00 am

Coup de Foudre has a line from Antony and Cleopatra as its epigraph: ‘Some innocents ’scape not the thunderbolt.’ In…

Fathers and sons — seen from multiple angles

30 May 2015 9:00 am

‘People talk about their childhood and it’s so mundane. I don’t remember much about it, if I’m honest. I can’t…

The secret life of the short story

4 April 2015 9:00 am

The short story likes to play the underdog. Famously unfavoured by publishers, it has none of the commercial clout of…

Edith Pearlman in 2012

The short story in Britain today: enough to make Conan Doyle weep

10 January 2015 9:00 am

I am not sure if it’s properly understood quite what a crisis the short story is now in. Superficial signs…

Stories about storytelling: Kirsty Gunn’s preoccupation with words is utterly entrancing

3 January 2015 9:00 am

Although entitled Infidelities this collection of short stories could as well be called Choices, because that is what really preoccupies…

The problem when novelists write short stories

8 November 2014 9:00 am

Rose Tremain walks on water. Her historical novels are absolutely marvellous, brilliantly plotted, witty and wise, with some of the…

Hilary Mantel’s fantasy about killing Thatcher is funny. Honest

27 September 2014 8:00 am

Heaven knows what the millions of purchasers of the Man Booker-winning Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies will make…

Tip-toeing through Sri Lanka

26 July 2014 9:00 am

‘The first night I stayed in Kilinochchi, I was a little apprehensive,’ admits the usually cool-headed Vasantha, van-driver and narrator…

The Russian literary celebrity who begged Tolstoy to spare Prince Andrei

19 July 2014 9:00 am

Nadezhda Alexandrovna Lokhvitskaya was a literary celebrity in pre-revolutionary St Petersburg. She chose the pen-name ‘Teffi’ because it was androgynous,…

There's so much mystery around Charles Portis that we're not even clear whether he’s alive

7 June 2014 9:00 am

The American writer, Charles Portis, has had what some novelists — the more purist ones — might regard as an…

No one would want to live in Jane Gardam's stories – but they're an amazing place to visit

24 May 2014 9:00 am

In the world of Jane Gardam’s stories the past is always present, solid and often unwanted and always too big,…

Don't let creative writing students read this book

12 April 2014 9:00 am

One of these is by Lydia Davis, acclaimed American writer. One is not. They are whole pieces, by the way,…

Samuel Beckett walks into a nail bar

29 March 2014 9:00 am

It isn’t very often that a writer’s work is so striking that you can remember exactly where and when you…

Sometimes one story is worth buying a whole book for. This is one of those times

8 March 2014 9:00 am

Any new book by Lorrie Moore is a cause for rejoicing, but her first collection of short stories for 16…

The food of love

4 January 2014 9:00 am

The Albek Duo are two astonishingly beautiful and talented Venetian musicians, Fiona and Ambra, who are identical twins. Hearing the…