Recommended reading: short story collections

We love short stories and their unique ability to immerse you in a new world at a moment’s notice. This month we’re recommending eight short story collections to dip into when you have a spare ten minutes.


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Kink edited by R. O. Kwon & Garth Greenwell

Kink is a dynamic anthology of literary fiction that opens an imaginative door into the world of desire. The stories within this collection portray love, desire, BDSM, and sexual kinks in all their glory with a bold new vision.

The stories within explore bondage, power-play, and submissive-dominant relationships; we are taken to private estates, therapists' offices, underground sex clubs, private estates, and even a Victorian-era sex theater. While there are whips and chains, sure, the true power of these stories lies in their beautiful, moving dispatches from across the sexual spectrum of interest and desires, as portrayed by some of today’s most exciting writers.


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Smokehouse by Melissa Manning

A man watches a boy in a playground and pictures him in the grey wooden shed he’s turned into a home. A woman’s adopted mother dies, reawakening childhood memories and grief. A couple’s decision to move to an isolated location may just be their undoing. A young woman forms an unexpected connection at a summer school in Hungary.

Set in southern Tasmania, these interlinked stories bring into focus the inhabitants of small communities, and capture the moments when life turns and one person becomes another. With insight and empathy, Melissa Manning interrogates how the people we meet and the places we live shape the person we become.


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McSweeney’s #62: Queer Fiction Issue edited by Patti Yumi Cottrell

McSweeney’s #62: Queer Fiction Issue collects absurd, bold, bleak, humorous, and astonishing works of fiction and art by queer writers of all orientations. Inside this luxurious hardcover, you’ll find stories about storm chasers and Colombian supermodels, about talking plants and DIY bands and camboys and encounters with the dead.

Contributors include Bryan Washington, Eileen Myles, Kristen Arnett, Sarah Gerard, Juli Delgado Lopera, Gabby Bellot, Dennis Norris II, Emma Copley Eisenberg, K-Ming Chang, and many more, with dazzling full-color illustrations throughout by Derek Abella.


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Broken Rules and Other Stories by Barry Lee Thompson

These awards-listed, interlinked stories vividly capture the small, rarely spoken moments of our lives that reverberate with meaning, with darkness and with light.

An adult son and his mother navigate an unnerving relationship based on dependence and ritual. A woman transgresses her husband’s rules and his distaste for parties. A sex-worker empathises with the life of an elderly client. From derelict industrial districts, to a lonely highway diner, to the faded charm of a British seaside resort, these are stories of growing up marginalised and living in working-class England and Australia.


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Hag: Forgotten Folktales Retold

Here are sisters fighting for the love of the same woman, a pregnant archaeologist unearthing impossible bones and lost children following you home. A panther runs through the forests of England and pixies prey upon violent men.

From the islands of Scotland to the coast of Cornwall, the mountains of Galway to the depths of the Fens, these forgotten folktales howl, cackle and sing their way into the 21st century, wildly reimagined by some of the most exciting women writing in Britain and Ireland today. Authors include Daisy Johnson, Kirsty Logan, Emma Glass, Eimear McBride, Natasha Carthew, Mahsuda Snaith, Naomi Booth, Liv Little, Imogen Hermes Gowar and Irenosen Okojie.


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Under A Dark Angel’s Eye by Patricia Highsmith

Published to celebrate the centenary of one of the twentieth century’s most influential writers, this is the most comprehensive collection of Highsmith’s short fiction, including two unpublished stories.

Disturbing, exhilarating, potent, savagely funny.


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The Decameron Project selected by the editors of The New York Times Magazine

The Decameron Project is an anthology with a simple, time-spanning goal: to gather a collection of stories written as our current pandemic first swept the globe. How might new fiction from some of the finest writers working today help us memorialise and understand the unimaginable? And what could be learned about how this crisis will affect the art of fiction?

These twenty-nine new stories, from authors including Margaret Atwood, Tommy Orange, Edwidge Danticat, and David Mitchell vary widely in texture and tone. Their work will be remembered as a historical tribute to a time and place unlike any other in our lifetimes, and offer perspective and solace to readers.


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Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

‘These are stories about those masks, and the people we are underneath them.’ – Neil Gaiman, writing from a cabin in the dark woods.

Make sure you secure your own mask before reading. Before being transported to worlds filled with witches, watchers and big black bees, with deathless Kin and pirate girls, with things that prowl in the darkness beyond the circle fire, to find the Shadder lurking at your journey’s end. But then what happens? There’s always something waiting for you. There’s always more. Just keep turning the pages.

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Smokehouse

Smokehouse

Melissa Manning

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