If you’re a fan of short stories, the fall season will be a bonanza, with collections from both new voices and acknowledged masters of the form.
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw (West Virginia University Press, Sept. 1): In her debut collection, Philyaw invites us in, sits us down, and introduces her “deeply moving and multifaceted characters, the Black girls and women who sit in traditional church pews [and] discover their own unique ways to worship….No saints exist in these pages, just full-throated, flesh-and-blood women who embrace and redefine love, and their own selves, in powerfully imperfect renditions.”
Each of Us Killers by Jenny Bhatt (7.13 Books, Sept. 8): This debut collection is full of “exquisitely crafted stories about longing, striving, and learning what we can control,” according to our review. “Creating a rich array of Indian immigrants, students abroad, repatriates, and people who have never left their villages, Bhatt skillfully probes the fault lines where desire shears against limitation, revealing the complex mix of luck, history, circumstance, and grit that determines which side will dominate.”
Truthtelling: Stories, Fables, Glimpses by Lynne Sharon Schwartz (Delphinium, Oct. 6): At 81, Schwartz is a veteran novelist due for a rediscovery. This collection of stories about New Yorkers ranges from realistic tales that “chronicle the sweetness of long marriages and the lingering pain of death and divorce” to more experimental fables that “are deliciously absurd while also building to startling revelations.”
Collected Stories by Shirley Hazzard (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Nov. 3): Hazzard, who died in 2016, is best known for her ravishing novels The Transit of Venus and The Great Fire, but in the 1960s she also wrote a number of stories that were published in the New Yorker and collected in two volumes, Cliffs of Fall and People in Glass Houses. These have now been combined, along with a number of uncollected pieces, in a volume that’s a must-have for fans of precise, devastating fiction.
Laurie Muchnick is the fiction editor.