Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Toppish and Tennish : A Choice of Short Fiction

Did you see that books-that-stayed-with-me challenge recently making the rounds everywhere?  A couple of friends tagged me, and then I tagged a couple, and before I knew it, my tbr list, which is always a mile or two longer than I like, was raging totally out of control.  

I had at least two books of short stories on my list.  So the other fall out was that I couldn't get rid of the idea of putting together a list of memorable short stories.  Here are some wonderfully rich tales, sad, happy, comic, horrifically thrilling, and deeply satisfying.  No particular order, and many more stashed away in the memory bank, restricting myself to the ones that were TOM when I sat down to write the post.  Except for a couple, most are available online so links included.  And no, none here from Chekhov, don't kill me!  I  do not really like his stories, the fault is entirely of my own taste and character, nothing to do with his brilliance.

The End of the Party  - Graham Greene

Silver Water -  Amy Bloom

The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber - Ernest Hemingway

Lamb to the Slaughter - Roald Dahl

The Necklace - Guy de Maupassant

My Beloved Charioteer - Shashi Deshpande (No links that I could find, part of an anthology called The Inner Courtyard)

The Garden Party - Katherine Mansfield

The Ant and the Grasshopper - W. Somerset Maugham

The Gift of the Magi - O' Henry

Sredni Vastar - Saki

I am actually rubbish at picking favourites.  The minute I put down Sredni Vastar say, I feel conflicted, what about the Reticence of Lady Anne?  And The Last Leaf is surely just as sentimental and satisfying as The Gift of the Magi, isn't it?  What about Alice Munro, she is a favourite contemporary short story writer, where do I fit her in?  Margaret Atwood?  Kazuo  Ishiguro?Salinger? Twain?

And how can I not even mention the richness of Bengali short fiction?  Samapti by Tagore still gives me goosebumps, Banaphool's works, Satyajit Ray's Fritz... And what about the novellas?  Mice and Men, and The Snow Goose and The Small Miracle.  The names come tumbling one after the other and there's no stopping. The nicest thing is of course that  in real life, there is no need to stop at ten or twelve, no need to pick favourites at all. 

Do you like reading short fiction? And if you do, which are the ones that you have liked?

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