Short Stories

Cover image for Alligator and Othere Stories by Dima Alzayat

Alligator and Other Stories by Dima Alzayat: Immigration reprised

This is the second collection I’ve read recently which explores the theme of immigration although my reading experience for each of them was very different. I read a print edition of How to Pronounce Knife whereas Dima Alzayat’s Alligator and Other Stories was my first toe in the Netgalley water, although far from my first …

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Cover image for A Registry of My Passage Upon the Earthby Daniel Mason

A Registry of My Passage Upon the Earth by Daniel Mason: Stories of history, science, discovery and outsiders

Historical novelist Daniel Mason’s name will be well known to many readers, I’m sure. I remember The Piano Tuner causing quite a stir when it was published back in 2002 but it didn’t appeal to me. You might wonder, then, why I picked up A Registry of My Passage Upon the Earth but its multitude …

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How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa: ‘They’d had to begin all over again, as if the life they led before didn’t count’

It was that title that attracted me to this collection of stories about immigrants and refugees, cleverly exemplifying the many idiosyncratic challenges English throws at those for whom it’s a second language. Born in a refugee camp in Thailand, Laotian writer Souvankham Thammavongsa is a poet whose own facility for language is demonstrated throughout this …

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Wild Swims by Dorthe Nors (transl. Misha Hoekstra): Smart, astute and funny

I first came across Dorthe Nors when I read her novella, Mirror, Shoulder, Signal, shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize in 2017. Her crisp, plain style coupled with an undercurrent of humour hit the spot for me. Wild Swims, exemplifies her rather idiosyncratic style, its apparently simple stories offering their readers much to think …

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She-Clown and Other Stories by Hannah Vincent: All about women

It was that eye-catching jacket that attracted me to Hannah Vincent’s She-Clown and Other Stories although I’d spotted Amanda at Bookish Chat was interested and she has a sharp eye for short stories. Vincent already has a couple of novellas under her belt but this is her first collection of stories which are all about …

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Diary of a Murderer and Other Stories by Kim Young-Ha (transl. Krys Lee): Four smart stories

I feel I should have heard of Kim Young-Ha before Diary of a Murderer and Other Stories turned up given that several of his many books have been translated into English. He’s well known in his native South Korea, having won every notable literary prize going, apparently. That alone would have piqued my interest but …

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To the Volcano by Elleke Boehmer: Stories of longing and loneliness

I’d not heard of Elleke Boehmer before To the Volcano turned up, despite the five novels she has under her belt. She’s also the author of an acclaimed biography of Nelson Mandela not to mention editor of the bestselling 2004 edition of Baden-Powell’s Scouting for Boys. I knew about the latter from Waterstone’s Books Quarterly …

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Faces on the Tip of My Tongue by Emmanuelle Pagano (transl. Jennifer Higgins and Sophie Lewis): Interconnected lives

I’m sure I’ve already made this observation here but I’ve yet to read a dud from Peirene Press. Their books are always thought-provoking and often beautifully expressed, a tribute to both writer and translator, or in this case translators. Clearly, Meike Ziervogel has a very discerning editorial eye and her own writing is quite remarkable, …

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Fly Already by Etgar Keret (Various translators): Stories with personality

I’d scored one Israeli success this year with Ayelet Gundar-Goshen’s Liar when Etgar Keret’s short stories, Fly Already, turned up, looking like another. Made up of twenty pieces, some no longer than a page or two, Keret’s idiosyncratic collection is both funny and poignant, counterbalancing comedy with a sharp observation of human nature. It begins …

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Witches Sail in Eggshells by Chloe Turner: A smartly turned out collection

I was initially attracted to Chloe Turner’s debut collection by its cover. Such a lovely pared back image and once you’ve read what’s inside, you’ll find it’s entirely relevant, too. Witches Sail in Eggshells comprises seventeen short pieces – some just a couple of pages, others stretching over ten – all as smartly turned out …

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