Digging the short stories…

I’ve never been much of a short story reader previously. I’ve always preferred something meatier, longer, more satisfying.

Wow, I just re-read that line and cringed. But rather than re-writing it, I’m going to leave it as is and you let you have an immature little giggle like I did. 😀

But back to the point. I’ve always enjoyed novels far more than short stories in the past, and while my heart will always truly belong to the longer form of fiction, I’ve enjoyed quite a number of  short stories recently. In the busyness of day-to-day life, there’s something quite satisfying about being able to start and finish a story  on the daily commute. I really admire authors who are able to create believable characters and a compelling plot within the confines of a short story – those authors have word economy down to a fine art!

The two short stories I’ve enjoyed most recently are The Secret Life of Veal by Nick Earls and Labyrinth by Rachel Morgan. Below are mini reviews of the stories, to match their mini length.

Labyrinth

Click to visit Amazon page for this story

Labyrinth is the second novelette in Rachel’s Creepy Hollow series, and it picks up right where Guardian left off. I won’t include too much about Labyrinth‘s plot in case you haven’t read Guardian yet, but you should really remedy that ASAP.

In Labyrinth, Vi’s confident, sarcastic yet warm voice bursts onto the page and we get to know Nate-the-human a lot better as things in Creepy Hollow get a whole lot, err, creepier. The title definitely suits the content of the story as I often didn’t have a clue which direction the plot would go. When the finale left me on a cliffhanger, I could have screamed, but only because I so desperately wished Book 3, Traitor, was already available. I’m now eagerly anticipating the news that Traitor has been released and can’t wait to see which way the series twists next.

The Secret Life of Veal 

Click to visit Amazon page for this story

As an animal rights advocate, I approached this story with a degree of trepidation. And as I feared, it pays out on vegans. But honestly, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t not enjoy this tale.  Nick Earls has long been a favourite author of mine because of his dry, depreciating sense of humour, and in The Secret Life of Veal, he delivers yet again.

Neither of the main characters are particularly likeable, but they’re both perfect fodder for snorts of laughter and rolling eyes.  Nick has created two people who are so different but yet both so vile, they’re somehow perfect for each other. If you enjoy dry wit and characters you love to hate, this will be right up your alley.

Your turn

How about you? Have you read either of these short stories? Do you like short stories or do you only have eyes for novels? Any other short stories you’d recommend?

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13 Comments

Filed under Book review, Writing

13 responses to “Digging the short stories…

  1. I don’t read a lot of short stories, but I always enjoy them when I do. I still remember the ones I read for school in 8th grade – The Rocking Horse Winner (D.H. Lawrence), The Lottery (Shirley Jackson), The Most Dangerous Game (I forget who wrote it but it’s GREAT!) – all truly amazing – as witnesses by the fact that I read them for school eons ago and still remember them!

  2. JessB

    I love short stories! Quick and fast, that’s how I like it 😉

    Seriously, I love a good book of short stories, like those by Angela Carter – dark and mysterious. I’ve always loved them.

    • Haven’t read any of Angela Carter’s work. What genre are they? Sounds interesting…

      • JessB

        She writes spooky, sexy horror stories. In particular, I read a collection of hers that were re-workings of traditional fairy stories for uni. It’s called The Bloody Chamber, and worth a look.

  3. I like to read the short stories in the New Yorker. The most recent one I enjoyed was written by Margaret Atwood and was called “Stone Mattress”. You can read it online.

  4. I haven’t read either of these short stories (though Labyrinth seems particularly appealing to me, so I’ll have to check out it and it’s first mate), but I’ve always been a big short story reader. I think I actually have my high school to thank for that entirely — by the time I was able to choose my semester-long English courses, I always went with themes/topics that read mostly short stories (including the aptly titled, “short stories”).
    As for a recommendation, Doris Lessing.

  5. Hey! That’s my book! Thank you so much for doing a mini review 🙂 I really appreciate it.

  6. Stories by Gabriel García Márquez are amazing! Brimming with magical realism, they’re definitely memorable. I especially recommend “There Are No Thieves In This Town” and “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”. His novella “Chronicle of a Death Foretold” and novel “A Hundred Years of Solitude” are also very good.

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