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New Short Story Collections

July 25, 2022


There have been an unusual number of good short story collections released this year.  Here are three I recommend:

Jess Walter is best known for his novel Beautiful Ruins, but I am partial to his short stories (see also: We Live in Water). These are full of joy and personality, but don't worry, the joy is of the jaded Gen X variety. Many of them are looks back at adolescence and young adulthood. Some were unexpectedly funny (Magnificent Desolation, about a middle school science teacher; Town & Country, about an unconventional senior facility; and The Way the World Ends, which has so much going on that it's indescribable). My favorite, though, was Drafting, about a woman finding solace in an unreliable ex-boyfriend.

I've been waiting on this collection since reading the story Malliga Homes in the 2021 O'Henry Prize anthology (annual anthologies are a great way to find new authors that you like!). A Life in America, with its competing interpretations of a professor’s relationships with his graduate students, and Nature Exchange, about the aftermath of a school shooting, were my favorites, but they were all beautifully written and affecting. These are stories that twist your heart. 

The good stories here were REALLY good. They were a mix of near future (Out There, The Last Woman on Earth, A Scale Model of Gull Point, and Big Sur) and eerie present-day stories (Tahoe, Doe Eyes, and The Turkey Rumble). The narrative voice (often a no-nonsense young woman) was in my opinion the most outstanding thing about this collection. Several of them also had shocking last lines that blew me away.

beth winter


Beth works in the Collection Development department.  She loves short stories, memoirs, documentary films, and cookbooks.  Her favorite things about working at the library are knowing in advance about all the new releases and the easy access to her library holds.

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