Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged short stories

How to Leave Hialeah

In real life, I have had only a small glimpse of Miami, driving through on the way to the Florida Keys. After reading Jennine Capó Crucet’s story collection How to Leave Hialeah, I feel I have witnessed Miami life on the most intimate levels. This debut story collection won the 2009 Iowa Short Fiction Award and was a finalist for the thirty-fourth Annual Chicano/Latino Literary Prize.

All Fall Down

The topical variety of the stories contained in Mary Caponegro’s All Fall Down is close to astounding. Her protagonists are women, men, and children. Her stories consider poesy, abortion, marriage, chronic illness, terrorism, pregnancy, lesbianism, and international travel—all with grace and interest and without a hitch.

It's Beginning to Hurt

As the title of It’s Beginning to Hurt suggests, one may expect this book to be a compilation of short stories filled with love, despair, loss, and anguish that reach into the profound depths of unimaginable hurt—and it is.

Fugue State

The Library of Congress’ perfunctory “Cataloging-in-Publication Data” (printed on the verso of the title page) rarely has anything novel or even in the least bit helpful to contribute to the discussion. However, in the case of Fugue State, a collection of stories by Brian Evenson, the dissembled “data” contains a single bit of notable information.

Portland Queer: Tales of the Rose City

Portland Queer: Tales of the Rose City is a mixed collection of memoir and fiction short stories that center on the city of Portland, OR. All of the stories are written in first person narrative and beautifully display the diversity of the human experiences which only a city like Portland can provide the backdrop. These stories provide readers with a view of the city that may not have been available before this collection was published.

The Man From Kinvara

Tess Gallagher's The Man From Kinvara is a richly written volume of short stories spanning the well-known poet and writer’s vast and prolific career. Who knew narratives of such everyday life could be so fascinating and provide captivating images? “The Lover of Horses,” the first story in this collection, is a tale of a family legacy passed on to each generation.

Will Work for Drugs

I have always wanted to like Lydia Lunch. I’ve always admired her assertiveness and her dark attitude, and at times, even her severely sarcastic wit.


Mijeong is a collection of short stories by Byung-Jun Byun in manhwa form.

The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards

We’ve all heard it a million times: Never judge a book by its cover. And I usually don’t, but when I received Robert Boswell’s The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards, I judged. The package wasn’t very compelling. It’s as if the author, publisher, or whoever the hell in charge of such things said, “Let’s completely cater to the teenage demographic by naming the book after the only short story in it to include a curse word.

Call Me Ahab

Anne Finger’s award-winning Call Me Ahab showcases a plethora of historical and literary characters—each of whom is in some way disabled—and imagines new scenarios for their lives. It’s an exciting concept and while several of the stories in the nine-story collection left me cold, Finger is to be lauded for her originality. Her talent is particularly vivid in "Vincent." Here, Finger brings Vincent Van Gogh into the late twentieth century.

Do Not Deny Me: Stories

Do Not Deny Me is a collection of twelve short stories that represent literary fiction at its very best. Each tale is beautifully crafted, with precise and striking phrases and detailed, relatable characters. The first story, “Soldiers of Spiritos,” hints at the writer’s opinions on literary criticism.

City of Victory

Anita Saran’s short story, City of Victory, is one of the best crafted stories I’ve read in a long time. She has a knack of bringing the setting to the forefront without intrusion. To call this piece of work a short story is an understatement. I find it to be more of a novella. The story is set in sixteenth century Vijayanagar, a city in South India known as Hampi today. Jehaan is a gypsy girl, who is forced to be one of the maids of honor to the queen.

Tea and Other Ayama Na Tales

When it comes selecting books to read, as in life, I often find myself treading the same well-worn territory over and over again. If left to my own devices, I tend to gravitate toward memoirs written by the famous and not-so-famous. I have drawn imaginary lines in my mind around certain genres of books that I assume are just not my cup of tea: science fiction, fantasy, and fictional tales of people who live in countries that don’t exist are some of the categories that I eschew.

Unusual Suspects: Stories of Mystery and Fantasy

Unusual Suspects is an eclectic assortment of stories ranging from mystery to the supernatural. Editor Dana Stabenow, also a contributing author, and eleven others lend their twelve tales to this compilation. The collection is heavy on the fantasy and even heavier on the entertainment.

One More Year

Sana Krasikov, in her first published collection, brings a filling and current group of short stories, and in them, creates honest characters whose interactions cannot be forgotten. Dramatic and awful at times, desperate and sparse, the stories move through time as each day does.

Unaccustomed Earth

In this stunning collection of stories, Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri takes the reader from the East Coast of the United States to India and Thailand and back, allowing us inside the homes and hotel rooms of warring lovers, conflicted families, and jealous roommates.

The Five-Forty-Five to Cannes

No point beating about the bush. Might as well get the finale over with right now at the top, instead of coyly building to it with flourishes of logic and neat exempla. Here goes. This is one terrific book Tess Uriza Holthe has written. It's tough, slapstick, delicate, witty, bawdy, rueful and superbly crafted. One minute she throws her head back in laughter; the next she whips out a blade and knifes you in the ribs. Can't trust her at all, meaning she's the best sort of writer.

No One Belongs Here More Than You

Full disclosure: I’m a longtime fan of and contributor to Miranda July’s collaborative website, Learning To Love You More. Last year’s Me and You and Everyone We Know is a film I regularly dream of making. So despite my anticipation of July’s premiere short story collection and real fascination and appreciation for her work as a writer, filmmaker and performer; I give this anthology a centrist’s recommendation.


When I read the introduction of Firstlight, Sue Monk Kidd’s new book, I was disappointed. I neglected to read the flap in the bookstore. After all, this was Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Life of Bees, one of my all time favorite novels.