Very Short StoriesExtremely short stories
These are very short stories that you must immediately tell.
Lydia Davis becomes the mistress of very short stories this week-end, not to speak of an outstanding interpreter of classical Dutch literary works - she turns 70. She has not invented fictional flashing, but she is certainly the most renowned and perhaps the best of them. Your work is always where I begin when I get into a fictional read hunt, but of course it's not always where I'm done, what other kind of hunt would it be?
Whilst it' s kind of out of style right now, I've heard rumours about a revival - the New Yorker, for example, has a fictional show running this fall - so maybe it's a good idea to remember what very short stories can do. This is why, in honour of Lydia Davis' birthdays, there are eleven very short stories that you must and can quickly learn thanks to the magical nature of the web.
It' s difficult to choose a favourite from Davis' solid work ("Break it Down" and "The Center of the Story" are two more I like, although they are a little long for this list), but on the other hand just about everything she wrote is good. And I like "The Outing" because it is the framework of a storyline that makes a joke of the term "what happens" - and still generates a strong feeling for what actually happens.
The first time I listened to Deb Olin Unferth reading, I was so desperately trying to record what she had said that I wrote her sentences on my own trousers in eye liner. Initially released in NOON, this is one of my favorite pieces and a very nice comment on the distress of the "unpleasant" lady.
That tale kills me. Saeunders constructs sense from nothing, slow, it seems - though in a tale of this short there is little room for slow - and then it tears everything away from you at the end, so that you are disembowelled and empty, this is just the kind of pathetic atrocity you really want from a novelist.
That is my favourite tale from Corin's collections of (mostly) fiction, One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses. The spooky attendance of one woman and the absenteeism of another, the euphemistic Apokalypse, the evasion of times - all this makes the tale reverberate for a long while.
It makes me smile every goddamn reading it and has also been teaching me some facts about sneakers. Each movement here is a separate narrative - and then there is the real narrative of a slayer (or two). It was this tale - about Taylor Swift cloning - that I met when she won the Gulf Coast Beard Helmet Award a few years ago.
All the stories I got were dignified and many were more technical when it came to vocabulary and shape, by which I mean experimentally. I just wanted to end up reading this thing over and over again." Anything you think about the Taylor Swift itself, this is just a lot of laughs.
It is one of the most widespread short stories for one reason: rhythmical and lyrical, a victory of the vocal and direct. Pretty much each of the plays in Ninety-nine Stories of God would do here, frankly, but I really like the winking of "Aubade", just the third one in the work.
It is the briefest narrative on this shortlist - a few words short of Lydia Davis', but it does pack a great deal of tragedy into this monosemiet. It is one of those I was reading a long while ago, but I always remember it - especially the beats of the popular films in France and France. It was the first thing I saw last night and liked it: a flood of words to indulge in and then be left behind.
The New Yorker's first in the Sommerblitz show, Jonathan Lethem's "Elevator Pitches", is also great and very different.