Can Someone Recommend Some Good New Short Fiction for Me, Please?
I just finished my friend Carolyn Black’s book The Odious Child and before that I read Stuart Ross’s Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew and before that I read Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad and Devon Code’s In A Mist. I liked all four very much. I’m thinking short fiction could be the next thing I get into, reading-wise. Can someone suggest me some more? As an aide, here are some things I’ve noticed I like.
1. Stories that serve in some part as excuses for fucking around with the material of stories.
2. Stories that do not hold “the story” up as the default sense-making paradigm for the activity contained in a human life.
3. Stories that have jokes about sex.
4. Stories in which the main characters, such as they are, do not act like the main characters in a novel. I say this because I don’t want to move in with them, I just want to be entertained by them for five to thirty minutes.
5. Stories in which the main characters, such as they are, do not act like the main character in my life, or in “real life”. This has always bothered me about stories, in part because I don’t *believe* in them in the way I believe in the lyric or the novel or the play. I don’t believe that their propensity to accurately reflect the true nature of human life is reflected by the faith we put in their ability to do that. I like my stories shifty and unhuman. I want to make use of the fact that short fiction is, at present, the scariest kind of reading I can imagine.
6. Stories that tell larger stories, with a general but not oppressive thrust towards a shared narrative arc. The Ross and Egan books did this especially well, methinks.
7. Stories in which none of the characters have names. Or in which all of the names are adjectives. Or in which all of the characters are adjectives.
8. Stories by authors who give off the sense that they could have been poets if they wanted to.
9. Stories that are not stories but actually glossaries, or inventories, indexes, lists.
10. Any story set within a fifteen block radius of my apartment.
Your help here would be muchly appreciated, internet. It’s been so long since we talked.