The best short stories short stories using articles classic and modern
Superstition, dark magic and real life intertwine as Polly, reluctantly pregnant, attempts to comes to terms with her partner's disappearance at sea. Although firmly rooted in modern-day Britain, there's more than a hint of fairytale here. Written long before Vladimir Nabokov hit the big time with Lolita and Pale Fire , ‘Signs and Symbols’ is haunting in its story of an elderly couple visiting their son at a sanitorium. All the hallmarks of his incredible gift for language are firmly in place. 40. The Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe We use cookies on this site to enable certain parts of the site to function and to collect information about your use of the site so that we can improve our visitors’ experience. For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more 3. I Bought a Little City by Donald Barthelme 19. Big Two-Hearted River by Ernest Hemingway Humans have been misunderstanding each other for as long as we've existed, and here R.K. Narayan's vivid portrayal of an encounter between a Tamil-speaking villager and an English-speaking New Yorker is an amusing yet quietly poignant story that explores the clash between Eastern and Western culture. We use cookies on this site to enable certain parts of the site to function and to collect information about your use of the site so that we can improve our visitors’ experience. For more on our cookies and changing your settings click here The best short stories short stories using articles classic and modernThe best short stories short stories using articles classic and modern Novellas, argues Matt Blake, are the perfect way to discover some of history's greatest writers. The most famous short story by America's greatest ever short story writer? It's definitelty a contender. Cheever's free-wheeling, gin-soaked journey through the back gardens of suburbia is as surreal, enteraining and poignant as it ever was. J D Salinger produced so little fiction, relatively speaking, that every word of it deserves to be read and read again. But if you were looking for a short hit of all that makes him a genius, ‘A Perfect Day for Bananafish’ would be it. Shocking and equisitively observed, his peerless ear for dialogue - particularly between adults and children - is also on full display. When Irvine Welsh decided to revisit Begbie, the terrifying hard man of Trainspotting fame, on Christmas day, it brought together all the best elements of his writing: dark humour, tense action and a brutal dissection of troubled masculinity. You'll never look at Brussel sprouts in the same way again. Whether it's the super-surveillance of Oceania or the repressive regime of Gilead, dystopian novels are resonating more strongly than ever with readers around the world. Despite being rather low on action – a war veteran walks into the countryside, looks at some nice fish, puts up his tent and sleeps – ‘Big Two-Hearted River’ is in some ways the purest expression of Hemingway's famous and much-imitated writing style. Nick Adams, his recurring protagonist, is trying to heal himself using the twin powers of solitude and nature. The patient reader can join him. The narrator of this story has bought a little city – Galveston, in Texas. At first he says he'll only change things gradually, but he soon comes to resemble something more like a despot as events spiral out of control. As funny as it outrageous this story, first published in the New Yorker , is a cautionary tale about control and ambition with plenty left to tell us about today. John O'Hara is an underrated writer, and he knew it - spending a lot of his time complaining about being overlooked in favour of contemporaries like Hemingway and Fitzgerald. But don't let that hold you back from his stories, and this one in particular, which are bingeworthy chronicles of American life in his era. A boy realises his feelings for a neighbour's sister in this story from James Joyce's Dubliners . It's classic coming of age stuff, where the excitement of new love clashes with the frustrations and responsibilities of adulthood. Set before our age of constant connectivity, this is a story of intense - and tense - longing in which someone races toward a lover they've fallen out with over a landline . The beauty of Calvino's story comes from the doubt: will the two lovers reunite and have a happy ending? It's a lot more fun to find out when there's no mobile phones involved. 47. A Conversation About Bread by Nafissa Thompson-Spires 41. Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell One of Britain's most daring and consistently surprising authors, Ali Smith's work is hard to categorise. We'll just say that this story – which comes from a collection dedicated to libraries and the power of reading – is nothing if not inventive. By signing up, I confirm that I'm over 16. To find out what personal data we collect and how we use it, please visit our  Privacy Policy 32. Symbols and Signs by Vladimir Nabokov 46. Minutes of Glory by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o 24. What, of this Goldfish, Would You Wish? by Etgar Keret Oops! it seems you've already subscribed to this newsletter. Many of history's finest fiction writers have tried their hand at the short story, and some are even best-known for their prowess at the form : think of John Cheever , Katherine Mansfield and Tessa Hadley , all of whom appears on this list. Elsewhere, short stories offer newcomers to famous proponents of the novel an opportunity to tip their toe in a new writer's style, or else see a different side of them altogether: James Joyce ,  Carson McCullers and Ian McEwan are but three giants of literature below who can be accessed in a different way via their skills at short story writing. Targeting cookies are used to make advertising messages more relevant to you and your interests. They perform functions like preventing the same content from reappearing, ensuring ads are displayed and, in some cases, selecting content based on your interests. See More. All sorts of creatues stalk the pages of Florida , Lauren Groff's short story collection from 2016. Spider, snakes and crocodiles lurk in the heady heat of her adopted state. But it is the black panther in the ‘The Midnight Zone’ we remember most vividly. It's story about motherhood, survival and imagination that is as tense as it is beautiful: Groff's considerable powers at full tilt. Two couples drink and meditate on the meaning of ‘real’ love, sharing their own anecdotes and experiences. Raymond Carver's beautifully spare writing is an exercise in minimalism, and he gets to the heart of the matter like no one else can. This story - and the others in the collection - cemeneted the American's position as one of the all-time greatest short story writers. 28. Bettering Myself by Ottessa Moshfegh Described as 'one of the great stories ever written about a writer', Mavis Gallant's masterpiece takes you into the life of a French novelist called Henri Grippes who many feel is past his best as an artist. Often short stories are big on plot, but this is a deepy human, close up look at a character. 1. Going to Meet the Man by James Baldwin 44. Moonlit Landscape with Bridge by Zadie Smith A story for children, yes, but it's no surprise English literature's greatest proponent of the bon mot infused his fairytales with plenty of sumptous allegories for adult foibles such as vanity, gread and pride. This is perhaps his best. 12. A View from the Observatory by Helen Dunmore Fans of Angela Carter and Roald Dahl's dark tales will love Indonesian writer Intan Paramaditha's stories, which take their inspiration from horror fiction, myths and legends and rework them with a feminist twist. ‘Vampire’, one of the shorter stories in this debut collection, is a brilliant retelling of Red Riding Hood. First published in The Atlantic in 1977, ‘Trilobites’ is a visceral snapshot of Appalachian life. For a debut, it's a truly astonishing piece of writing, raw – yes – but also a compassionate portrayal of the people involved. 39. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins-Gilman In ‘Bettering Myself’, a teacher drinks a lot, just about copes with her job at a Catholic school and tries to forget her ex-husband. Like much of Moshfegn's work, it's a raw and darkly sardonic story about a character who is flawed and unlikeable on some level, but certainly not beyond redemption. This one's more of a novella than a short story but it'd be foolish to leave out this seminal piece of writing which shows how far we've come in our thinking on women's mental health, and perhaps how far we still need to go. So, without further ado, here are 50 of literature's greatest short stories to entertain, distract, reassure and inspire – just what a short story should do. Which is your favourite? Tessa Hadley is one of the best modern masters of the short story form. This one, about a young woman struggling to bond with her new, oddly-behaved step-daughter, is a vivid look at family, childhood and how ‘coming of age’ never really stops. Registered office: 20 Vauxhall Bridge Rd, London, Analytics cookies help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. These cookies may be set by us or by third-party providers whose services we have added to our pages. See More . For more on our cookies and changing your settings click here A couple, on holiday to try and overcome the pain of their daughter's death, get caught up in a sinister series of events. As you might expect, ‘Don't Look Now’ is filled with the slow-burning tension that Daphne Du Maurier was so good at creating. Four pals decide to build a rocket and fly it to the moon and back. This offbeat story demonstrates a writing style close to what we imagine Hanks himself is like: warm, witty and just a little bit quirky. 31. The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami 25. The Daughters of the Late Colonel by Katherine Mansfield In the wake of its first publication in the New Yorker , short stories using articles ‘The Lottery’ caused a flurrry of letters from readers – more, in fact, than any work of fiction had previously generated. Imagine how many shares it would get on Twitter today. An unsettling read, this is quintessential Shirley Jackson. Preference and Feature cookies allow our website to remember choices you make, such as your language preferences and any customisations you make to pages on our website during your visit. See More . Beatrice doesn't know who she is, or who she wants to be. Working a dead-end job in a bar, she dreams of being rich, having expensive clothes and being famous. But of course, things don't always turn out the way we want them to. One of Ngũgĩ's best-loved stories, 'Minutes of Glory' finds the author at his funniest and more heartbreaking. A lot of satirical writing emerged from life under totalitarianism in Russia and eastern Europe, but this story - about a St Petersburg official whose nose decides it wants to lead a life independent of the face it was once attached to - is among the best of the best. Written as a satirical dig at the communist government that controlled Poland at the time, this surreal short story will have you laughing at the extreme consequences of a small provincial zoo's novel attempt to cut costs. 33. A Horse and Two Goats by R.K. Narayan Audiences, meanwhile, continue to show a huge appetite for the short story. Popular modern writers such as Lauren Groff , Daisy Johnson and Ottessa Moshfegh either cut their teeth or sharpen their skills as writers writing them, while in recent years there have even been viral short story hits such at 2017's ‘ Cat Person ’, a tale of digital romance gone wrong publishing in the  New Yorker which captured the cultural zeitgeist and sparked conversations around the world. The best short story in Barrett's collection of tales set against a backdrop of Nigeria's political history, ‘Godspeed and Perpetua’ charts the highs and lows of an arranged marriage and offers an astute look at family power dynamics. Barrett's real stength is in his characterisation: figures like Perpetua, stuck in a disappointing marriage with a wealthy, older man, leap off the page. Keret's work is generally on the shorter side of the short story but they are brimming with invention and often feature delightfully bizarre situations – like this one, which features an impatient, Russian-speaking, wish-granting goldfish. As close as any short story to being ‘perfect’, Dahl's most iconic adult work is a macarbe murder mystery condensed to a few dozen pages which will still send a wicked chill down your neck. You'll never book an AirBnb in quite the same way again. Two women look down on the Clifton Suspension Bridge from Bristol's camera obscura and witness something ominous - though quite what, it is left to the reader to decide. A story full of menace, it shows Dunmore - one of Britain's best modern short story writers - at the peak of her best. There are two runaways in this story – one is Carla, who is trying to escape her marriage to surly, obsessive Clark. The other is Flora, a goat who has gone missing. Alice Munro's exquisite writing always manages to convey just how complex an ordinary life can be, and she's on some of her best ever form here. Another elephant-related short story for this list – who would've thought? In this quietly lyrical tale, an elderly zookeeper and an equally aged elephant vanish, seemingly into thin air. The last person to catch sight of them is our narrator, who wonders whether it was an optical illusion or magic. One of the most famous short stories of all time, Poe's matter-of-fact and economical writing style works to full effect in this tale of a man's haunted conscience. As the unnamed narrator tries to convince us of his sanity, his paranoia only worsens. Hugely influential and, even today, enjoyable 35. if a book is locked there's probably a good reason for that, don't you think by Helen Oyeyemi If you found a co-worker's locked diary, would you crack it open and start reading or would you ignore it, leaving it exactly as found? Thus lies the conundrum at the heart of this story, which reads almost like a cautionary tale or dark fairytale on modern day office gossip culture. 22. The Largesse Of The Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson 42. A Perfect Day for Bananafish by J D Salinger Set in the American deep south at the height of the Civil Rights movement, Baldwin's famous short story examines racial tension from both sides of the coin without denying either their humanity. It is also an unflinching look at the horrors of violence and discrimination. Follow Josephine and Constantia, or Jug and Con to each other, as they go about making arrangements in the wake of their father's death. There's intense sadness here but also caustic humour and all the other emotions that come with the daily reality of grief. This is a story about someone writing a story. Edwin is writing about a boy he grew up with. but Brian doesn't care for Edwin's work. ‘A Conversation About Bread’ feels almost like a comedy of errors but it's a whip-smart take on when represenation veers into fetishisation. They broke boundaries and challenged conceptions. We asked you for your must-read classics; from iconic bestsellers to lesser-known gems, these are your essential recommends. 34. Over the River and Through the Wood by John O'Hara Nigerian author Ekwensi could spin one hell of a yarn, few more memorable than Fussy Joe, the musician who has a taste for beautiful young women and causing trouble but for whom karma is never far away. Small but perfectly formed, ‘Glittering City’ will also take you on a memorable ride through 1960s Lagos. The Booker International Prize winning American author is, among other things, a master of the short story. In this piece of micro fiction - just a few lines long - she manages to convey an entire day and arguably a whole relationship. Modern life is a busy affair. Sometimes, a short story is the perfect solution. Here are fifty groundbreaking examples – both classic and modern – to enjoy this year. A woman sits at home, agonising over a late phone call from a man – and wonders whether she should call him instead. It might have been written in 1928. but this short story still feels like one of the most relatable things ever written about dating. A paperboy on his round is beckoned over to a cafe by an old man drinking alone at a table, and soon the man is telling the boy about a woman he has loved and lost. As with much of Carson McCullers' work, this story is infused with love and loneliness. In Karen Russell's dazzling and darkly funny story, two vampires – one traditional and one of a more progressive variety – make their home in a lemon grove with the hope that the luscious, ripe fruit will quench their thirst for blood. A newly married couple share a simple, happy day together. In terms of action, there's not much else we can reveal here except to say ‘Remember This’ is heartbreaking in the way only a brilliant short story can be - and a short story by Graham Swift is better at than any other. 21. The Superstition of Albatross by Daisy Johnson 26. A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud. by Carson McCullers Earlier in his writing career, Ian McEwan was known for tackling extremely dark themes. Nowhere is this more evident than this genuinely chilling short story about a suspected child sex offender that will cling to you like a terrible nightmare. It's the deep south, before the American Civil War, and slave ownership is still the norm. This story is about a moment of crisis when a baby of dubious heritage is born, and the consequences that follow. Chopin's take on race relations caused a sensation on first publication and it's no surprise Désirée’s Baby remains her most famous story. Translated into English for the first time, ‘Bee Honey’ is a quiet, contemplative look at the meaning of motherhood and the duty it entails, whatever culture you're brought up in. A high ranking politician of an unnamed country attempts to escape his homeland after it is ravaged by a storm. This is one of Smith's greatest short stories: a subtle meditation on memory and power with a tense conclusion. 10. Private Tuition by Mr Bose by Anita Desai 5. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver An advertising man nearing retirement tells us about absent friends and acquaintances in the title story of Denis Johnson's final collection, which was finished before and published just after his death. As with much of his writing, this story can be bleak at times, but it's also darkly funny and always compassionate. The short story, says Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Steven Millhauser, has powers the novel only dreams of. "The novel is the Wal-Mart, the Incredible Hulk, the jumbo jet of literature," he wrote in his brilliant essay, The Ambition of the Short Story . " the short story apologises for nothing. It exults in its shortness. It wants to be shorter still. It wants to be a single word. If it could find that word, if it could utter that syllable, the entire universe would blaze up out of it with a roar. That is the outrageous ambition of the short story, that is its deepest faith, that is the greatness of its smallness." 2. Godspeed and Perpetua by A. Igoni Barrett
Domestic harmony and anarchy clash in the story of one evening in the life of Mr Bose, a poetry teacher forced into giving Sanksrit lessons to unwilling and mischievious students in order to supplement his income. Strictly Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, success stories articles