December 14, 2011
These are the short fiction collections I have recommended most to blog readers, friends, and family throughout the year.
What was your favorite short story collection of 2011?
Stuart Nadler's debut story collection The Book of Life, one of the year's finest, is filled with keen observations of everyday lives, refreshing dark humor, and the struggle between tradition and modern life.
I was first introduced to the fiction of Miroslav Penkov through his Eudora Welty Fiction Prize-wining story "Buying Lenin," which appeared in the 2008 Best American Short Stories anthology and easily won my heart. His debut collection East of the West offers tales of everyday Bulgarians, both at home and abroad. These are powerful short stories, but taken together their brilliance magnifies with a skillful combination of humor and pathos.
Seth Fried's debut story collection The Great Frustration is often dark, funny, and absurd at the same time, a promising and entertaining first book from a truly gifted author.
In his short story collection Light Lifting, Alexander MacLeod wonderfully magnifies and illustrates the weight of everyday life.
A couple of years ago I received a review copy of Emma Straub's book Fly-over State in the mail. I can only compare reading her stories for the first time with hearing that initial song from what would become your favorite band. I obsessively searched out her other stories, and she has quickly become one of my favorite writers.
In the introduction to her 2009 Book Notes piece for Fly-over State I predicted she was a "writer to watch with a strong literary future." With Other People We Married, Straub proves that the future is now. Her eye for detail combined with a keen, pervasive sense of humor bring these engaging stories to life in one of the year's finest short fiction collections.
Alan Heathcock's short fiction collection Volt is filled with desperate characters and their heartbreaking, interconnected stories. Heathcock expertly draws a raw, intimate portrait of an American small town, character by character, and weaves their desperation and hope into one of the year's most striking short story collections.
also at Largehearted Boy:
previous lists at Largehearted Boy
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
guest book reviews
52 Books, 52 Weeks book reviews