Want to read a story with all the depth, questions and quality of a novel, written by highly skilled writers in about 5% of the space? Short stories can be heartbreaking, mysterious and incredibly detailed; for a perfectly formed, bite-sized smorgasbord of stories, browse our Short Story recommendations here.
Stories do not have to be long. In the space of a couple of sentences - or even a page or two - we may see the human heart exposed in a way that is more powerful than occurs in many much longer narratives. In Tiny Tales Alexander McCall Smith explores romance, ambition, kindness and happiness in thirty short stories that range in length from the short to the minuscule. The settings are as diverse as the characters - Scotland, England, Australia, the United States - combining to create a rich and surprising tableau. An Australian pope?. A persuasive cosmetic surgeon? The world's laziest cat. A group of students living together and getting romantically entangled? All human and animal life is here - in miniature. These stories are inspired and accompanied by the thirty magnificent strip Tiny Tales created by McCall Smith and illustrated by the brilliant Iain McIntosh - each cartoon a little gem of observation.
Seamlessly transitioning between the absurd and the tender-hearted, balancing acerbic humour with sharp emotional depth, Afterparties offers an expansive portrait of the lives of Cambodian-Americans. As the children of refugees carve out radical new paths for themselves in California, they shoulder the inherited weight of the Khmer Rouge genocide and grapple with the complexities of race, sexuality, friendship and family. A high school badminton coach and failing grocery store owner tries to relive his glory days by beating a rising star teenage player. Two drunken brothers attend a wedding afterparty and hatch a plan to expose their shady uncle's snubbing of the bride and groom. A queer love affair sparks between an older tech entrepreneur trying to launch a 'safe space' app and a disillusioned young teacher obsessed with Moby-Dick. And in the sweeping final story, a nine-year-old child learns that his mother survived a racist school shooter. With nuanced emotional precision, gritty humour and compassionate insight into the intimacy of queer and immigrant communities, the stories in Afterparties deliver an explosive introduction to the work of Anthony Veasna So.
'Disarrhoea' is a compelling set of unique short stories, ranging from sci-fi, to horror, to downright weird – all done in the best possible way of course! The stories are all vastly different from one another and yet keep the reader hooked on what bizarre goings on will befall the next set of characters… and no two stories are alike. The writing style used is very clever and enhances the chilling effect of each tale too, in particular that of 'Fearground'. This story is told purely through the "funfair masters" conversations with the participants, and although there is no detailed description of the scenery, Kevin Vodden does a fantastic job of giving enough description through a one-sided conversation to understand and picture all the spooky events taking place. Quite frankly I have never read a piece so uniquely written and so well executed, it is a sheer stroke of genius! The most striking stories for myself are of course 'Fearground' and 'Terror Pericolosa' as these stories were expressed so well and had strong tension throughout for the reader. 'Terror Pericolosa' was skilfully thought out and produced the perfect blend of sci-fi and emotion, whilst following the nerve-racking story of a research colonist team on a hostile planet. All of these stories are so original and keep you wondering and guessing what happened next, giving the reader a perfect cliff hanger and wanting more!! In conclusion these short stories are simply brilliant, and I would recommend them to any lover of horror, sci-fi or all things a bit weird! I genuinely can not pick fault with any of the tales as I think they are all so encaptivating and told superbly. Kevin Vodden has done a masterful job of encompassing the strange and wonderful. Hermione White, A LoveReading Ambassador
There is a real skill in being able to conjure a whole life in just a few pages, to be able to leave a reader with an enduring feeling in just a short time. Here you will find lasting stories about life the universe and everything, from authors you already know as novelists and some that will be knew and welcome friends. We love a good short story, not just because they provide great reading in bite-size chunks - perfect for the trip to work, or a moment when you just want a small piece of brilliance in your life – but also because they are (if they are good) a perfect piece of art, capturing the human condition in a snapshot that stays with the reader for much longer than it took to write. As Graham Greene put it; “a novel can seldom have the sense of perfection which you find in Chekhov’s story, The Lady with the Dog.” From Chekhov to Julian Barnes via a whole host of other perfectionists, we have hand-picked the very best of short story collections for readers of all tastes.