The ubiquity of Kristen Roupenian’s “Cat Person” among a certain set of New Yorker–reading short story fans, and the recent publication of You Know You Want This, her first collection, has me thinking about stories. Here are a few new collections that are worth checking out:
Rutting Season by Mandeliene Smith “often finds its protagonists poised between disaster and redemption,” according to our review. “Yet the unpredictability of the nine stories here, many of which deal with matters of life and death, is only part of their charm. Nuanced and empathetic, at times dangerous, tragic, or redemptive, these stories find their subjects in the midst of pivotal moments in their lives, as they struggle with impulses and actions both animalistically urgent and deeply, hauntingly human.”
That Time I Loved You by Carianne Leung circles around a suburban Toronto neighborhood in the 1970s, where there’s been a rash of suicides among the parents. “Regardless of which group we belonged to—Chinese, white, or otherwise—by the second suicide, it felt like we were waiting for something else catastrophic to happen," says 11-year-old June, who narrates some of the stories. Our review says: “Written in the tradition of Alice Munro and Jhumpa Lahiri, Leung's debut story collection marks the career of a writer to watch.”
Tacoma Stories by Richard Wiley is a collection of linked stories about the denizens of a bar in Tacoma on St. Patrick’s Day 1968, moving back and forth across several decades. Wiley “emphasizes unlikely transformations over time—and, as the title suggests, the role of place in those transformations. And though Wiley juggles plenty of characters, he has a light touch that's fitting for a book rooted in the free-wheeling '60s in a small Northwest city….A modest but quirky collection defined by forbearance amid life’s left turns.” Laurie Muchnick is the fiction editor.