This has been a remarkable year for short story lovers. We’ve seen collections that burnish the reputations of dead authors (Lucia Berlin; Clarice Lispector) and re-introduce acclaimed authors who haven’t published in more than a decade (Joy Williams) as well as debut collections from writers to watch (Mia Alvar; Antonio Ruiz-Camacho), first books of stories by acclaimed novelists (Anthony Marra), and new books by established masters (Adam Johnson; Kelly Link; China Mieville; Edith Pearlman). Here are excerpts from a few Kirkus reviews to help you decide what to read next:
Antonio Ruiz-Camacho, Barefoot Dogs: When the patriarch of a large, wealthy clan in Mexico City is kidnapped, it leads the family to an unintentional diaspora. Mexican-born, Texas-based journalist Ruiz-Camacho shows a wealth of talent in this fiction debut, a collection of interconnected stories.…A nimble debut that demonstrates not a singular narrative voice but a realistic chorus of them.
Kelly Link, Get in Trouble: In stories as haunting as anything the Grimm brothers could have come up with, Link gooses the mundane with meaning and enchantment borrowed from myth, urban legend, and genre fiction….Here, a Ouija board can tell you as much about your future as your guidance counselor.…Lovers are forever being stolen away like changelings, and when someone tells you he’ll never leave you, you should be very afraid.
Anthony Marra, The Tsar of Love and Techno: Communists, oligarchs, and toxic landscapes from Siberia to Chechnya define this collection of tightly linked stories.…A powerful and melancholy vision of a nation with long memories and relentless turmoil.
Joy Williams, The Visiting Privilege: Like pitchers, some writers are openers, and some are closers. Few are as accomplished as Williams in condensing the whole of a large, often painful world into a few closing sentences.…If you want to see how the pros do it—or simply want to read some of the best stories being written today—you need look no further.
Laurie Muchnick is the fiction editor.