Short Stories

As the United States tears itself to pieces over a proposed wall, which has in recent months transmogrified into a steel fence, here in Australia we have no right to be smug or to rubberneck. After all, Australia loves its fences. Since it was first occupied as a penal colony, this land has been bisected by a seemingly endless ...

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'If you think you know what this collection will be like, you’re wrong,’ Carmen Maria Machado (author of the brilliant Her Body and Other Parties, 2017) states on the back cover of Kristen Roupenian’s provocatively titled début, You Know You Want This. It is an unusual description of a short story collection from an emerging author, but Roupenian is not your average débutante ...

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Best Summer Stories edited by Aviva Tuffield

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December 2018, no. 407

Many readers – though apparently not enough to have saved them – will mourn the recent demise of Black Inc.’s annual Best Australian anthologies of essays, stories, and poems (which first appeared in 1998, 1999, and 2003, respectively). The last of these, however, has won something of a reprieve in Best Summer Stories ...

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As a boy, I watched with fascination an early sci-fi horror film, The Blob. After a meteorite lands in Pennsylvania, a small, gelatinous blob emerges from the crater. Starting with an inquisitive old man who probes this runaway black pudding with his walking stick, the blob proceeds to consume, literally, everything ...

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In David Cohen’s collection of wry and quirky stories, he follows the lives of various men in their rituals of ordinariness – their failures, foibles, and fetishes – with a razor-like eye observing the disenchantments of modernity ...

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‘In nearly all Trevor’s stories,’ wrote V.S. Pritchett almost four decades ago, ‘we are led on at first by plain unpretending words about things done to prosaic people; then comes this explosion of conscience, the assertion of will which in some cases may lead to hallucination and madness.’ Even here, in this collection ...

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Apple and Knife by Intan Paramaditha, translated by Stephen J. Epstein

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May 2018, no. 401

There is an observation in the titular story of Indonesian writer Intan Paramaditha’s first collection to be published in English, which can be read as the thematic spine of the book: ‘Sometimes it seemed like there was nothing new to talk about. It was the same old story, repeated over and over, all stitched together.’  This notion ...

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Property by Lionel Shriver

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May 2018, no. 401

The sadly departed Terry Pratchett once said, ‘Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.’ While it is difficult to imagine anyone claiming that the great fantasist had no right to tell the stories of witches, orang-utans, and sentient luggage, authors of literary fiction have lately been held to a different standard ...

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This is a playful, intelligent, unsettling series of stories, fourteen of them, collected from publications going back a few decades from 1987 until 2012 as well as, presumably, unpublished work. Due in part to this long span, the book traces back and forth through time. There is even a Sydney pre-Opera House (just) ...

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It is a pleasure to read a collection of short fiction in which every story is a work of elegant and meticulous craft. Catherine Cole has brought her significant observational and lyrical skills as a poet, novelist, and memoirist to bear on these stories, and the narratives unfold with cool, restrained style. However, this ...

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