Posts tagged short stories

“Bon Voyage, Mr President” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

A short book of four short stories. I liked the main one, Bon Voyage Mr President. It’s quite a straightforward story, with none of the magical realism for which Marquez is known. The dying ex-president of a Caribbean nation is in Geneva, seeing doctors about a mysterious ailment. A man from his home nation recognises him and invites him to… Read More

“Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida” Part 5

The final part in my journey through Russian literature. For the original post in the series, please click here. Varlam Shalamov Here we move into the Stalinist era and writing about the Gulag. Through the Snow is a beautiful extended metaphor about writing as walking through virgin snow, with readers coming along behind on tractors and horses. Berries is about… Read More

“Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida” Part 4

For the original post in this series, click here. Isaak Babel These three stories come from Babel’s posting as the equivalent of an embedded war correspondent with a Cossack regiment in Poland in 1920. They are not compromised or sanitised in any way, however: the convey the full savagery and horror not only of war but of military life. My… Read More

“Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida” Part 3

For the original post in this series, click here. The Gentleman from San Francisco and In Paris by Ivan Bunin Two stories about abrupt deaths, both beautifully written, both very different. The Gentleman from San Francisco is about the transitory nature of existence. A bit like Dostoevsky’s Bobok, it shows how a lot of the things we think are important… Read More

“Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida” Part 2

Continuing my journey through Russian literature: if you want to see the introduction and reviews of earlier stories, click here. Bobok by Fyodor Dostoevsky Not my favourite Dostoevsky, this one. It’s quite a funny little story about a man who goes to a graveyard and hears the dead people talking to each other in their graves. There’s some good satire… Read More

“Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida” Part 1

I was always going to enjoy this book. I have loved Russian literature from an early age, and this short story collection is a Hall of Fame of Russian literature. With a few exceptions, which the editor Robert Chandler highlights in his introduction, the big names are all here. The main omissions are Gorky, Grossman, Pasternak and Sholokhov, because their… Read More

“How to Write Short Stories” by Sharon Sorenson

This is a very useful basic guide to writing short stories. Most of it I have read or heard elsewhere (e.g. “show, don’t tell” – ever heard that one before?), but what I found useful was the examples used to illustrate the lessons. The examples were good because I’ve always thought of formulas for writing short stories as, well, a… Read More

Master the Shorts

Lady Glamis just wrote a great series on short story writing. It includes a useful list of markets to submit to, loads of good advice, and also a short story contest. So if you have a story to submit, do send it in for the contest – prize is $50 plus a full critique and publication on the blog. If… Read More

“Commonwealth Short Stories”, part 4

In the final part of this series of posts, I’m reviewing stories by Mavis Gallant, V.S. Naipaul, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Hal Porter and Chinua Achebe. Mavis Gallant (Canada) – Orphans’ Progress According to the introduction, Gallant’s work mostly deals with broken families, and this is no exception: two girls are taken into care because their mother is irresponsible. They go… Read More