Short Stories

Cover image for Kreminology of kisses by Barabara Bleiman

Kreminology of Kisses by Barbara Bleiman: Sealed with a kiss, or not

Always a risky business agreeing to a review request from an author, something I rarely do. If I don’t like their book, it feels as if I’ve slapped them in the face. Last year, I struck lucky with Deirdre Shanahan’s Carrying Fire and Water which is perhaps what made me accept Barbara Bleiman’s offer of …

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Cover image for To Be a Man by Nicole Krauss

To Be a Man by Nicole Krauss: Men, women and the tensions in between

Nicole Krauss’ The History of Love was one of those novels you couldn’t get away from when it was published here in the UK back in 2006. I loved it. Since then I’ve read several novels by Krauss but none have quite matched it for me, including the smartly clever Forest Dark. That didn’t deter …

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Cover image for London Under Snow by Jordi llavina

London under Snow by Jordi Llavina (transl. Douglas Suttle): Wintery Catalonian tales

Recently launched, Fum D’Estampa Press is a small publisher dedicated to introducing Catalonian literature to English-speaking readers. A little niche you might think but if Jordi Llavina’s London Under Snow is anything to go by, worth seeking out. I was attracted to Llavina’s collection partly thanks to enjoying a short story roll after reading Dierdre …

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Songs for the Flames by Juan Gabriel Vásquez (transl. Anne MacLean): Stories within stories

Given that Juan Gabriel Vásquez has not only won the prestigious International Dublin Literary Award but has also been shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, together with his translator Anne MacLean, I feel I really should have read something by him before now. Songs for the Flames is his first short story collection for …

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Dancers on the Shore by William Melvin Kelley: More, please

Originally published in I964, William Melvin Kelley’s Dancers on the Shore comprises sixteen stories some of which recall the characters who brought his striking novel A Different Drummer so vividly to life. Its title refers to a lengthy quote from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness setting the tone for a thought-provoking read. Several of the …

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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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