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”

A short story I recently read

‘Fable’ by Ethan Rutherford Read it here in about an hour. Thinking about using stories within stories… A husband and wife have dinner with an old friend, meeting his new wife for the first time. The three friends reminisce; the narrator tells the reader they share stories about their shared pasts, but the reader isn’tContinue reading “A short story I recently read”

A short story I recently read

‘And Later, His Ghost’, by Sarah Hall Read it here in about 30 minutes. Thinking about imagery as plot… I recently read Hall’s short story collection Madame Zero, in which this story features. It’s an unusual collection; the first and last stories seem to be about the same characters and event, but one takes aContinue reading “A short story I recently read”

A short story I recently read

The Man I Killed, by Tim O’Brien Read it here in 10 minutes. Thinking about structure and effects… O’Brien’s use of structure is amazing throughout the collection The Things they Carried; many of the stories spiral around events, revisiting them, reconsidering them, which I think reflects how memory works, especially in relation to trauma. TheContinue reading “A short story I recently read”

A short story I recently read

‘The Man on the Stairs’ by Miranda July Read it here in about 10 minutes. Thinking about time and characterisation… I love this story. In the opening, the narrator wakes to hear someone on the stairs outside her bedroom. We have this repetition and extension of things she can hear and feel, which demonstrates herContinue reading “A short story I recently read”