A short story I recently read

‘Town of Birds’, by Heather Monley Read it here in about 10 minutes. Thinking about why I liked it… I love characters changing into animals, so was interested in this story from the first line, especially as that first line juxtaposes this unusual event with an unusual response: ‘In the town where the children turnedContinue reading “A short story I recently read”

A short story I recently read

‘The Great India Tee and Snakes’ by Kritika Pandey Read it here in less than half an hour. Thinking about moving away from realism… I’ll read anything and everything, but I don’t like writing realism. I’m not sure why; I’m just never happy with what I write if it’s too close to realism. What IContinue reading “A short story I recently read”

A short story I recently read

‘As I Make My Crooked Way’ by Jules Hogan Read it here in about 35 minutes. Thinking about intertexuality and the Bible… I enjoyed this story the first time I read it, because it features an adult character who feels utterly stuck in her life, and that appealed to me as the pandemic has madeContinue reading “A short story I recently read”

A short story for Halloween

‘A Better Place’ by Ottessa Moshfegh Read it here in less than an hour. Thinking about why it’s unsettling… In the first paragraph, our narrator, Urszula, says she’s not from Earth, but from ‘some other place’. This is a young girl speaking, as indicated by the childish tone, the vocabulary (‘silly people’), and her inabilityContinue reading “A short story for Halloween”

A short story for Halloween

‘Afternoon at the Bakery’ by Yoko Ogawa Read it here (click on ‘Read Excerpt’, underneath the picture of the book’s cover, to read the entire story), in about 20 minutes. Thinking about why it’s unsettling… The first two paragraphs describe a beautiful day in a peaceful place, where people go about their business, doing ordinaryContinue reading “A short story for Halloween”

A short story for Halloween

‘Birds in the Mouth’ by Samantha Schweblin (NB. the eponymous story is called ‘Mouthful of Birds’ in my copy of the book) Read it here in about 25 minutes. Thinking about why it’s unsettling… The concept of this story is disturbing. The narrator’s daughter has begun to eat live birds. She’s thirteen; a school girl;Continue reading “A short story for Halloween”

A short story for Halloween

‘A Collapse of Horses’ by Brian Evenson Read it here in under 30 minutes. Thinking about why it’s unsettling… The story opens with a shocking statement made by the first-person narrator: his family have died, in an horrific manner, while he’s been injured. His tone when revealing this is utterly detached. And he’s using directContinue reading “A short story for Halloween”

A short story I recently read

‘Some Zombie Contingency Plans’ by Kelly Link Read it here, in about an hour (scroll down past the intro). Thinking about using prior knowledge of an author to interpret their work… This story is fascinating. If you’ve never read Kelly Link before, you may read it and come away thinking it’s a realist story aboutContinue reading “A short story I recently read”

A short story I recently read

‘Bottles of Grief’ by Eva Shelton This story is one of the winners of The Insider Prize 2021. You can read it here (scroll down) in about 10 minutes. Thinking about story focus and characterisation… The narrator is attending a group grief counselling session. They (gender unknown) watch as the other attendees share their stories.Continue reading “A short story I recently read”

A short story I recently read

‘How to Talk to Your Mother’ by Lorrie Moore Read it here in about 20 minutes. Thinking about motifs… I’m a sucker for nostalgia. Having a short story/novel look back into the past, especially after a character has died, gets me every time. The opening line of this story tells us someone has died: ‘WithoutContinue reading “A short story I recently read”