8 Must-Read Short Story Collections

8 Must-Read Short Story Collections

You need to place on your TBR list these 8 must-read short story collections.

1. The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway

“In this definitive collection of Ernest Hemingway’s short stories, readers will delight in the author’s most beloved classics such as ‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro,’ ‘Hills Like White Elephants,’ and ‘A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,’ and will discover seven new tales published for the first time in this collection. For Hemingway fans The Complete Short Stories is an invaluable treasury.”

2. Franz Kafka: The Complete Stories

The Complete Stories brings together all of Kafka’s stories, from the classic tales such as ‘The Metamorphosis,’ ‘In the Penal Colony,’ and ‘A Hunger Artist’ to shorter pieces and fragments that Max Brod, Kafka’s literary executor, released after Kafka’s death. With the exception of his three novels, the whole of Kafka’s narrative work is included in this volume.

3. Invisible: Stories by Stephen Spotte

“The 19 stories in marine scientist Stephen Spotte’s latest collection penetrate the stormy, watery depth of the human psyche, blending elements of make-believe with sharp, systematic observations and insights into the twisted manifestations of life, love, and death. The tales skip across genres at breakneck speed, mixing humor and pathos with fantasy, sometimes in settings that juxtapose gritty reality with magical realism. Throughout, Spotte scrapes aside the thin patina of everyday existence, offering a glimpse into the strange abyssal world of his imagination.”

4. The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

“The Lottery and Other Stories, the only one to appear during Shirley Jackson’s lifetime, unites ‘The Lottery’ with twenty-four equally unusual short stories. Together they demonstrate Jackson’s remarkable range — from the hilarious to the horrible, the unsettling to the ominous — and her power as a storyteller.”

5. The Stories of Breece D’J Pancake by Breece D’J Pancake

“Breece D’J Pancake cut short a promising career when he took his own life at the age twenty-six. Published posthumously, this is a collection of stories that depict the world of Pancake’s native rural West Virginia.”

6. Jesus’ Son: Stories by Denis Johnson

“Jesus’ Son is a visionary chronicle of dreamers, addicts, and lost souls. These stories tell of spiraling grief and transcendence, of rock bottom and redemption, of getting lost and found and lost again. The raw beauty and careening energy of Denis Johnson’s prose has earned this book a place among the classics of twentieth-century American literature.”

7. Airships by Barry Hannah

“Now considered a contemporary classic, Airships was honored by Esquire magazine with the Arnold Gingrich Short Fiction Award. The twenty stories in this collection are a fresh, exuberant celebration of the new American South — a land of high school band contests, where good old boys from Vicksurg are reunited in Vietnam and petty nostalgia and the constant pain of disappointed love prevail. Airships is a striking demonstration of Barry Hannah’s mature and original talent.”

8. Bats Out of Hell by Barry Hannah

“Love and torment, lunacy and desire, tenderness and war — the stories in Bats Out of Hell provide a brilliant, dazzling odyssey into American life. Barry Hannah’s reputation as a master of the short story, first established in 1978 with the publication of Airships, is magnified in this volatile, long-awaited collection of new stories. Astonishing in range and in the portrayal of the human heart, these fierce and radar-perfect stories give us individuals with whom hilarity and pain combine with true and startling clarity.”

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