Is the short story dead? I think not, but all I hear is: (a) publishers are reluctant to buy collections because (b) no one buys them. I was reminded of this when I saw Tobias Wolff last week. The short story is an art form all its own and Wolff is a master. In fact, when I set out to read Wolff’s novel Old School it felt too much like a knock-off of one of my all-time favorite short pieces, “The Palace Thief” by Ethan Canin, which is why, I believe, I couldn’t get going with Old School.
Here are a few shorts (there are sooooo many!) that will, I swear, knock you into a fainting spell if you’ll just give them a chance:
David Quammen’s “Walking Out” from Blood Line
T.C. Boyle’s “Carnal Knowledge” and “Descent of Man” from his 700 page collection Stories
Jean Thompson’s “Throw Like a Girl” and “The Brat” and “It Would Not Make Me Tremble to See Ten Thousand Fall” from Throw Like a Girl
Raymond Carver’s “Where I’m Calling From” and “A Small, Good Thing” and “Cathedral” from Where I’m Calling From
Richard Yates’s “Out with the Old” and “Builders” and “Oh, Joseph, I’m so Tired” from The Collected Stories of Richard Yates