Beautiful Indifference: stories, by Sarah Hall
This unique and disturbing collection includes stories in which the serenity of a Finnish lake turns sinister when a woman's lover does not come back from his swim, a bored London housewife discovers a secret erotic club, and a shy, bookish girl develops an unlikely friendship with the schoolyard bully. In reviewing the book, The Guardian, called these stories "dark, fierce and sensual."
Fire and Forget: short stories, edited by Roy Scranton and Matt Gallagher
An unprecedented collection of hard-hitting, poignant short stories written by thirteen young veterans of the Iraq. The stories aren't pretty and they aren't for the faint of heart. They are gritty and haunting. Television reports, movies, newspapers, and blogs about the recent wars have offered snapshots of the fighting there. But this anthology brings us a chorus of powerful storytellers--some of the first bards from our recent wars, emerging voices and new talents--telling the kind of panoramic truth that only fiction can offer.
Love, In Theory: ten stories , by E.J. Levy
Ms. Levy looks at romance through the lens of scholarly theories to illuminate love in the information age. She takes readers through the surprisingly erotic terrain of the intellect, offering a smart and modern take on the age-old theme of love--whether between a man and woman, a man and a man, a woman and a woman, or a mother and a child--drawing readers into tales of passion, adultery, and heartbreak. Incorporating theories from physics to film to philosophy, from Rational Choice to Thorstein Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class, these stories movingly explore the heart and mind--shooting cupid's arrow toward a target that may never be reached.
Married Love: and Other Stories, by Tessa Hadley
This new collection of short fiction from the acclaimed novelist delves into domestic dramas, generational sagas, tragic love affairs and life-altering realizations, from an 18-year-old girl who insists on marrying her music professor to the wife of a film producer who gets the chance to lead a much different life after her husband's death. Read the glowing NY Times book review here.
The Middle Men: stories, by Jim Gavin
In Middle Men, Stegner Fellow and New Yorker contributor Jim Gavin delivers a panoramic vision of California, portraying a group of men, from young dreamers to old vets, as they make valiant forays into middle-class respectability. The men in Gavin's stories all find themselves stuck somewhere in the middle, caught half way between their dreams and the often crushing reality of their lives. A work of profound humanity that pairs moments of high comedy with searing truths about life's missed opportunities, Middle Men brings to life a series of unforgettable characters learning what it means to love and work and be in the world as a man, and it offers our first look at a gifted writer.
No Animals We Could Name: stories, by Ted Sanders
The animals (human or otherwise) in these stories are oddly familiar, yet unlike anyone you've met before. A lion made of bedsheets, with chicken bones for teeth, is brought to life by a grieving mother. When Raphael the pet lizard mysteriously loses his tail, his owners find themselves ever more desperate to keep him alive, in one sense or another. A pensive tug-of-war between an amateur angler and a halibut unfolds through the eyes of both fisherman and fish. And in the collection's unifying novella, an unusual guest's arrival at a party sets idle gears turning in startling new ways. Mr. Sanders recently put together a music playlist to accompany this collection, read about it here.
Pu-239 and other Russian Fantasies, by Ken Kalfus
First published in 1999 and written during a four-year residency in Moscow where his wife served as bureau chief to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Kalfus shows us the heart of Russian people against the tumultuous backdrop of Soviet history. These five short stories and one novella demonstrate Kalfus's sense of the absurd. Worth taking a look, 12 plus years after its first release. This was also made into an HBO movie in 2008.
Spectacle: stories, by Susan Steinberg
Spectacle bears witness to alarming and strange incidents: carnival rides and plane crashes, affairs spied through keyholes and amateur porn, vandalism and petty theft. These wounded women stand at the edge of disaster and risk it all to speak their sharpest secrets. In lean, acrobatic prose, Susan Steinberg subverts assumptions about narrative and challenges conventional gender roles. She delivers insight with a fierce lyric intensity in sentences shorn of excessive sentiment or unnecessary ornament. By fusing style and story, Steinberg amplifies the connections between themes and characters so that each devastating revelation echoes throughout the collection. The SF Gate blog calls it "a marvel."
This Cake Is For The Party, by Sarah Selecky
In these ten stories, linked frequently by the sharing of food, Ms. Selecky reaffirms the life of everyday situations with startling significance. This Cake Is for the Party reminds us that the best parts of our lives are often the least flashy. These absorbing stories are about love and longing, that touch us in a myriad of subtle and affecting ways.