The short story format seem to change every few years, with appointed gatekeepers and common readers alike pushing new examples of the form into unsuspecting hands. For the latter group especially — us — we’re particularly fond of short stories for their kindness, brevity and convenience. Because no matter how much we want it to be the case, not everyone has a chunk of time to dedicate to longer fiction.
Sometimes, you need a story to keep you company, while you wait for your flight; over breakfast, before you explore a new city; or maybe as you lounge on the beach. And so here are two recently released short story collections for your consideration.
Orange World and Other Stories
Karen Russell, whose novel Swamplandia! charmed and enchanted many a reader, has come out with a new collection of short fiction: Orange World and Other Stories. The compilation displays in full glory her ability to create vivid scenes, arresting characters and tricky (or trickster) plots. And in only eight stories, she weaves almost magical encounters, even in seemingly ordinary circumstances — all of this wonderment is delivered in her distinct and original voice, with a display of her mastery of the English language. Orange World is the author’s fifth book and third short story collection — so you know she’s not taking this whole literature thing lightly.
Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory
One of the most buzzed-about books to come out this year is the fiction offering of Raphael Bob-Waksberg — creator of the much-loved and critically lauded TV series BoJack Horseman. The verbosely titled Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory succeeds in bringing literary gatekeepers and internet dwellers together in agreement: here is a collection that deftly unravels the mundanities and mysteries of love, and with much earnestness. And there’s a bonus for fans of the show: the same trademark dark humor and self-deprecation that mark the characters of the series appear in these pages.
Cursed and Other Stories
Noelle Q. de Jesus’ newly released short story collection, Cursed and Other Stories, explores the inherent discomforts of the diaspora — a constant, we are urged to accept, in the narrative of the Filipino people (the author herself is a Filipino-American living in Singapore). Here are characters caught in different shades of limbo, in their inability to be well and truly part of something. In the title tale, for example, the protagonist is a misfit in a land she cannot call her own just yet, and confronts wounds both personal and collective, literal and metaphysical. This deft plumbing of alienation, and of its many-faced nature, lies in the undercurrent of every story, as Noelle excels in charting the trajectory of characters who cannot find comfort anywhere, not even within themselves.