9th January, 15:10
If you’re not a short story fan, you should be. And this list may just convert you…
- The Daughters of the Late Colonel – Katherine Mansfield
A beautifully sad, largely plotless story revolving around two women whose father has recently passed away. Comedic yet tragic, this is the tale of how two oppressed sisters, Connie and Josephine, deal with their loss and how to live their lives without their patriarchal father. As with Mansfield’s work generally, the story is of course largely critical of society though, as I said, contains fleeting funny moments, too. As you’ll find with any of Mansfield’s stories, this’ll leave you wanting more!
2. Girl – Jamaica Kincaid
This one is literally a 2 minute read and free on the Yorker website. A breathtakingly written paragraph of lyrical prose, Kincaid here gives an insight to the social expectations of a young girl with endearing plausibility but a sinister message.
3. The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Gilman
An iconic short story if there ever was one, the title literally is the theme of this tale. A woman and her husband move into a new home and the protagonist becomes transfixed by the yellow wallpaper in her bedroom. After being told she is not well by her doctor husband, she’s forced to spend hours ‘resting’ in the room and begins convincing herself that a woman lives behind the wallpaper. Spooky, unnerving and, like I said, a staple.
4. Paper Menagerie’- Ken Liu
A Mother makes her sweet son paper animals. Cute, right? Wrong. Ok it starts cute, but don’t read this unless you want your heart strings tugged. Another very short story, as above, but equally as important and thought-provoking. It falls into the sci-fi genre, but don’t be put off if you’re not into aliens and all that; it’s simply a tale of a boy and his Mother.
5. The Dead – James Joyce
It’d be wrong of me not to pick one I studied at uni, right? Read any of Joyce’s Dubliners stories you can get your hands on, especially this one. All beautifully written, the miniature slices of literary delight are set in Ireland and focus on social, political and religious issues of the time. Quite simply, The Dead follows many-layered Gabriel attend a party and go home afterwards. There’s a little more to it than that, but you’ll see…