I’m excited that May is short story month. In fact, I’m so excited that I’m going to give away a signed copy of my collection of short fiction, I AM HOLDING YOUR HAND.
Here’s what you have to do: in the comments to this post on my blog, list your favorite short story and tell me why it’s your favorite. I will keep the comments open all month long and choose a random winner at the end of the month (but that person must have followed the rules in order to win).
Check back here at the end of the month to see who won and please do spread the word. Thank you and Happy Short Story Month!
I love short stories, but I have to go old school if you want my favorite. “The Story of an Hour.” Because it is just too perfect. And it has the best closing line–She died of a broken heart.
“Bullet in the Brain” by Tobias Wolff is my favorite (today). I taught it last night and read a bit of it aloud, and the imagery struck me as brilliant (again). The descriptions of the setting are perfect because they are active descriptions–we see the setting in the context of something happening–which really brings it to life.
“A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” I love the fact that the old woman is so totally oblivious to everything that is happening around her. She never sees that it really is “all about her” in the most negative way possible.
I suppose everyone expects me to pick a Dorothy Parker story, but my favorite is Salinger’s “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.”
Meanwhile, early congrats to whomever wins I A HOLDING YOUR HAND–an exquisite collection by one of my favorite writers!!!
Well, I already have your gorgeous collection, but I’ll join in the discussion here. I have so many favorites, but a couple I love at “Boys” by Rick Moody and “Flower Children” by Maxine Swann. Oh and stealing from Ellen, above, I think “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” is one of the best, ever. And nearly anything by Stephanie Vaughn, Joy Williams, and Amy Hempel.
“I Look Out for Ed Wolfe” by Stanley Elkin. Probably the most influential book affecting me as a writer. It showed me that you can write an unflinching protagonist and harsh plot, and still retain your own humanity. It taught me that fearless writing is the most humane act a writer can perform.
(this is my 2nd posting of the same story, the first didn’t seem to take)
Without hesitation, “Fat” by Raymond Carver. It changed how I read, thought about, and wrote short stories. Everything Carver touched was filled with perfectly used language, never overdone, always sparse, but so, so rich with humanity and the ugliness that seems to come along with it.
Thanks for the give-away!
One of the first stories to come to mind is Louise Erdrich’s Satan: Hijacker of a Planet. Also, Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” has stayed with me.
I don’t have favorites per se, but like Ring Lardner’s “Haircut” , unreliable first person narrator, offhandedly tells a story about a murder that the town may be covering up. You never really see the man in the barber chair who’s supposed to be hearing the story and as a result the reader becomes the guy in the chair, with this barber maybe holding a razor or scissors to his head.
Happy Short Story Month! It’s way too hard for me to pick an “all-time” favorite short story (too many good ones; particularly if you include classics), but my “right now” favorites are:
They Take You by Kyle Minor (http://www.plotswithguns.com/3Minor.htm)
The Year I Learned Everything by Roxane Gay (http://rookiemag.com/2013/04/the-year-i-learned-everything/)
La Negra Blanca by Roxane Gay (http://www.dzancbooks.org/the-collagist/la-negra-blanca.html)
Broads by Roxane Gay (http://www.guernicamag.com/fiction/broads/)
Real Men by Elissa Wald (http://therumpus.net/2012/05/sunday-rumpus-fiction-real-men/)
Clearly Roxane Gay is my favorite short story writer. However, now that I’ve typed out this little list I’m realizing that They Take You is probably my favorite of the glorious bunch.
Such a hard question!! But I also love “A Perfect Day for Banana Fish” and “Sundress” which is Sudden Fiction (Terese Sveboda)–so much in so little space there and, finally, Cathedral, because I really do see epiphanies on the students faces!
Katherine Anne Porter’s stories are tight and bright; charged with surprise and emotionally draining to read. Check out “Noon Wine.” Every time it knocks me out.
“The Dead.” I have never gotten over the ending, and it wounds and astonishes me anew every time I read it.
Pick a favorite short story?! Eeeeeks.
Bullet in the Brain, Tobias Wolff
Brokeback Mountain, Annie Proux
Cathedral, Raymond Carver
The Point, Charles D’Ambrosio
Escape from Spiderhead, George Saunders
The Ceiling, Kevin Brockmeier
Not possible to pick just one from that list, sorry 🙂
Yes, this is so hard! I also love “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” and “The Dead,” and, of course, almost anything by Flannery O’Connor, especially “Revelation” and “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” I also find that “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates has so many layers that it stays new and surprising, reading after reading.
I’m looking forward to reading your collection, Myfanwy, because in the flash fiction category, “I Am Holding Your Hand” is one of my favorite stories ever. I’m using it right now in a flash fiction course to teach the art of merging back story with present action. This story accomplishes that leap in time so well!
That is so lovely of you to say, Kathryn! Thank you! You’ve made my day.
Only one, very tough. One of many is Leo Tolstoy’s “Three Questions”.