Book Riot's 100 Must-Read Contemporary Short Story Collections

Top 10 Book Riot's 100 Must-Read Contemporary Short Story Collections : What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories, The Thing Around Your Neck, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, Unaccustomed Earth, Tenth of December, Night at the Fiestas, Battleborn, Revenge, Bobcat and Other Stories

AuthorLesley Nneka Arimah
ISBN0735211027
A dazzlingly accomplished debut collection explores the ties that bind parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends to one another and to the places they call home.

In “Who Will Greet You at Home,” a National Magazine Award finalist for The New Yorker, A woman desperate...
A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories
AuthorLucia Berlin
ISBN0374202397
A Manual for Cleaning Women compiles the best work of the legendary short-story writer Lucia Berlin. With the grit of Raymond Carver, the humor of Grace Paley, and a blend of wit and melancholy all her own, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday, uncovering moments of grace in the laundromats and halfway...
The Thing Around Your Neck
AuthorChimamanda Ngozi Adichie
ISBN0307271072
Searing and profound, suffused with beauty, sorrow, and longing, the stories in The Thing Around Your Neck map, with Adichie's signature emotional wisdom, the collision of two cultures and the deeply human struggle to reconcile them.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie burst onto the literary scene...
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
AuthorKen Liu
ISBN1481442546
A publishing event: Bestselling author Ken Liu selects his award-winning science fiction and fantasy tales for a groundbreaking collection—including a brand-new piece exclusive to this volume.

With his debut novel, The Grace of Kings, taking the literary world by storm, Ken Liu now...
Unaccustomed Earth
AuthorJhumpa Lahiri
ISBN0676979343
Eight stories—longer and more emotionally complex than any Lahiri has yet written—that take us from Cambridge and Seattle to India and Thailand as they enter the lives of sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers, daughters and sons, friends and lovers.

From the internationally best-selling,...
Tenth of December
AuthorGeorge Saunders
ISBN0812993802
One of the most important and blazingly original writers of his generation, George Saunders is an undisputed master of the short story, and Tenth of December is his most honest, accessible, and moving collection yet.

In the taut opening, "Victory Lap," a boy witnesses the attempted abduction...
AuthorKirstin Valdez Quade
ISBN0393352218
With intensity and emotional precision, Kirstin Valdez Quade's unforgettable stories plunge us into the fierce, troubled hearts of characters defined by the desire to escape the past or else to plumb its depths. The deadbeat father of a pregnant teenager tries to transform his life by playing the...
AuthorClaire Vaye Watkins
ISBN1594488258
Winner of the 2012 Story Prize
Recipient of the 2012 American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Foundation Award
A National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" fiction writer of 2012

Like the work of Cormac McCarthy, Denis Johnson, Richard Ford, and Annie Proulx, Battleborn represents...
Revenge
AuthorYōko Ogawa
Sinister forces draw together a cast of desperate characters in this eerie and absorbing novel from Yoko Ogawa.

An aspiring writer moves into a new apartment and discovers that her landlady has murdered her husband. Years later, the writer’s stepson reflects upon his stepmother and the...
AuthorRebecca Lee
ISBN1616201738
Rebecca Lee, one of our most gifted and original short story writers, guides readers into a range of landscapes, both foreign and domestic, crafting stories as rich as novels. A student plagiarizes a paper and holds fast to her alibi until she finds herself complicit in the resurrection of one professor's...
Get in Trouble
AuthorKelly Link
ISBN0804179689
She has been hailed by Michael Chabon as “the most darkly playful voice in American fiction” and by Neil Gaiman as “a national treasure.” Now Kelly Link’s eagerly awaited new collection--her first for adult readers in a decade--proves indelibly that this bewitchingly original writer...
AuthorElizabeth McCracken
ISBN0385335776
From the author of the beloved novel The Giant’s House—finalist for the National Book Award—comes a beautiful new story collection, her first in twenty years. Laced through with the humor, the empathy, and the rare and magical descriptive powers that have led Elizabeth McCracken’s fiction...
AuthorBonnie Jo Campbell
ISBN0393353265
Named by the Guardian as one of our top ten writers of rural noir, Bonnie Jo Campbell is a keen observer of life and trouble in rural America, and her working-class protagonists can be at once vulnerable, wise, cruel, and funny. The strong but flawed women of Mothers, Tell Your Daughters must negotiate...
Ghost Summer: Stories
AuthorTananarive Due
Whether weaving family life and history into dark fiction or writing speculative Afrofuturism, American Book Award winner and Essence bestselling author Tananarive Due’s work is both riveting and enlightening.

In her debut collection of short fiction, Due takes us to Gracetown, a small...
AuthorNathan Englander
ISBN0307958701
These eight new stories from the celebrated novelist and short-story writer Nathan Englander display a gifted young author grappling with the great questions of modern life, with a command of language and the imagination that place Englander at the very forefront of contemporary American fiction.
...
North American Lake Monsters
AuthorNathan Ballingrud
ISBN1618730592
Nathan Ballingrud's Shirley Jackson Award winning debut collection is a shattering and luminous experience not to be missed by those who love to explore the darker parts of the human psyche. Monsters, real and imagined, external and internal, are the subject. They are us and we are them and Ballingrud's...
Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?
AuthorKathleen Collins
ISBN0062484168
Now available in Ecco’s Art of the Story series: a never-before-published collection of stories from a brilliant yet little known African American artist and filmmaker—a contemporary of revered writers including Toni Cade Bambara, Laurie Colwin, Ann Beattie, Amy Hempel, and Grace Paley—whose...
AuthorLysley Tenorio
ISBN0062059564
A luminous collection of heartbreaking, vivid, startling, and gloriously unique stories set amongst the Filipino-American communities of California and the Philippines.

A luminous collection of heartbreaking, vivid, startling, and gloriously unique stories set amongst the Filipino-American...
AuthorLindsay Hunter
ISBN0982580800
Lindsay Hunter tells the stories no one else will in ways no one else can. In this down and dirty debut she draws vivid portraits of bad people in worse places. A woman struggles to survive her boyfriend's terror preparations. A wife finds that the key to her sex life lies in her dog’s electric collar....
We Come to Our Senses: Stories
AuthorOdie Lindsey
ISBN0393249603
Lacerating and lyrical, We Come to Our Senses centers on men and women affected by combat directly and tangentially, and the peculiar legacies of war. The story “Evie M.” is about a vet turned office clerk whose petty neuroses derail even her suicide; in “We Come to Our Senses,” a hip young couple...
AuthorEdith Pearlman
ISBN0982338295
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD

PEN/MALAMUD AWARD

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST

THE STORY PRIZE FINALIST

LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE FINALIST

In this sumptuous offering, one of our premier storytellers provides a feast for fiction...
A Collapse of Horses
AuthorBrian Evenson
ISBN1566894131
5 word review (not counting these words here, hidden in the parenthesis, but these stories were so weird and disturbing and burrowing, yes, burrowing, inside, inside you.)

Loved it. And blurbed it.

Here's my blurb!

“Brian Evenson's collection A Collapse of Horses is...
AuthorMegan Mayhew Bergman
ISBN1451643357
A heartwarming and hugely appealing debut collection that explores the way our choices and relationships are shaped by the menace and beauty of the natural world.

From a prizewinning young writer whose stories have been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and New Stories from...
AuthorKevin Brockmeier
ISBN0375727698
Weaving together loss and anxiety with fantastic elements and literary sleight-of-hand, Kevin Brockmeier’s richly imagined Things That Fall from the Sky views the nagging realities of the world through a hopeful lens.

In the deftly told “These Hands,” a man named Lewis recounts...
AuthorJamie Quatro
Sharp-edged and fearless, mixing white-hot yearning with daring humor, Jamie Quatro’s debut collection is a beautiful and disquieting portrait of infidelity, faith, and family.

The hypnotically intimate, urgent stories in I Want to Show You More are about lives stretched between spirituality...
AuthorCarys Davies
ISBN1907773711
In a remote Australian settlement a young wife with an untellable secret reluctantly invites her neighbour into her home. A Quaker spinster offers companionship to a condemned man in a Colorado jail. In the ice and snows of Siberia an office employee from Birmingham witnesses a scene that will change...
AuthorAdam Johnson
ISBN0857522973
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his acclaimed and bestselling novel The Orphan Master's Son, Adam Johnson is one of America's most provocative and powerful authors. In Fortune Smiles - his first book since Orphan Master - he continues to give voice to characters rarely heard from, while offering something...
Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories
AuthorVandana Singh
ISBN1618731432
I recently had something of a revelation about myself that's going to sound silly, but which has reframed the way I think about books and other media I consume: I don't actually care that much about plot.

I care about ideas. I care about characters. I care about theme and atmosphere. I care about...
AuthorJoy Williams
ISBN1400095522
With her singular brand of gorgeous dark humor, Joy Williams explores the various ways–comic, tragic, and unnerving—we seek to accommodate diminishment and loss. A masseuse breaks her rich client's wrist bone, a friend visits at the hospital long after she is welcome, and a woman surrenders...
The Assimilated Cuban's Guide to Quantum Santeria
AuthorCarlos Hernandez
ISBN1495607399
A quirky collection of short sci-fi stories for fans of Kij Johnson and Kelly Link
 
Assimilation is founded on surrender and being broken; this collection of short stories features people who have assimilated, but are actively trying to reclaim their lives. There is a concert pianist who...
Diving Belles
AuthorLucy Wood
ISBN1408816857
Straying husbands lured into the sea can be fetched back, for a fee. Magpies whisper to lonely drivers late at night. Trees can make wishes come true - provided you know how to wish properly first. Houses creak, fill with water and keep a fretful watch on their inhabitants, straightening shower curtains...
All Aunt Hagar's Children: Stories
AuthorEdward P. Jones
ISBN0060557567
Edward P. Jones, a prodigy of the short story, returns to the form that first won him praise in this new collection of stories, All Aunt Hagar's Children. Here he turns an unflinching eye to the men, women, and children caught between the old ways of the South and the temptations that await them in the city,...
AuthorLuis Alberto Urrea
ISBN0316334375
NAMED NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR by Washington Post, BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Kirkus Reviews, NPR, Men's Journal

A new short story collection from Luis Alberto Urrea, bestselling author of The Hummingbird's Daughter and The Devil's Highway.

From one of America's preeminent literary...
AuthorSean Beaudoin
ISBN1616204575
Black humor mixed with pathos is the hallmark of the twelve stories in this adult debut collection from a master writer of comic and inventive YA novels.

A young man spends a whole day lying naked on the floor of his apartment, conversing casually with his roommates, pondering the past, considering...
AuthorRebecca Makkai
ISBN0525426698
Named a must-read by the  Chicago Tribune , O Magazine,  BuzzFeed ,  The Huffington Post ,  Minneapolis Star-Tribune , and The L Magazine

Named one of the best short story collections of 2015 by Bookpage and Kansas City Star

Rebecca Makkai’s first two novels,...
Honeymoon: And Other Stories
AuthorKevin Canty
ISBN0375708006
The characters in Kevin Canty’s new collection are people we all know. People who are perhaps ourselves, searching, often in the wrong places, for something meaningful, or real, or at least, for a moment, right. Here are couples like Vincent and Laurie, who after beginning an ill-timed relationship,...
AuthorDan Chaon
ISBN0345441613
In this haunting, bracing new collection, Dan Chaon shares stories of men, women, and children who live far outside the American Dream, while wondering which decision, which path, or which accident brought them to this place. Chaon mines the psychological landscape of his characters to dazzling...
You Have Never Been Here: New and Selected Stories
AuthorMary Rickert
ISBN1618731106
Open this book to any page and find yourself enspelled by these lush, alchemical stories. Faced with the uncanny and the impossible, Rickert’s protagonists are as painfully, shockingly, complexly human as the readers who will encounter them. Mothers, daughters, witches, artists, strangers,...
The Republic of East L.A.
AuthorLuis J. Rodríguez
From the award-winning author of Always Running comes a brilliant collection of short stories about life in East Los Angeles. Whether hilariously capturing the voice of a philosophizing limo driver whose dream is to make the most of his rap-metal garage band in "My Ride, My Revolution," or the monologue-styled...
AuthorChristopher Rowe
ISBN1618731327
There are ten stories here including one readers have waited ten long years for: in new novel-la The Border State Rowe revisits the world of his much-lauded story The Voluntary State. Competitive cyclists twins Michael and Maggie have trained all their lives to race internationally. One thing holds...
AuthorElissa Schappell
ISBN0743276701
Elissa Schappell's Use Me introduced us to a writer of extraordinary talent, whose "sharp, beautiful, and off-kilter debut" (Jennifer Egan) garnered critical acclaim and captivated readers. In Blueprints for Building Better Girls, her highly anticipated follow-up, she has crafted another provocative,...
The Virginity of Famous Men
AuthorChristine Sneed
ISBN1620406950
This intimate, psychologically astute story collection from the winner of the Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction asks the question, what compels two people to fall in love?

The Virginity of Famous Men, award-winning story writer Christine Sneed’s deeply perceptive collection on the...
AuthorRobin MacArthur
ISBN0062444395
A powerfully authentic new literary voice debuts with stories that carve out a distinctive vision of the wildness and beauty of rural Vermont.

Spanning nearly forty years, the stories in Robin MacArthur’s formidable debut give voice to the hopes, dreams, hungers, and fears of a diverse...
Swimmer Among the Stars: Stories
AuthorKanishk Tharoor
ISBN9384067342
An interview with the last speaker of a language. A chronicle of the final seven days of a town that is about to be razed to the ground by an invading army. The lonely voyage of an elephant from Kerala to a princess’s palace in Morocco. A fabled cook who flavours his food with precious stones. A coterie of...
Sour Heart
AuthorJenny Zhang
ISBN0399589384
A fresh new voice emerges with the arrival of Sour Heart, establishing Jenny Zhang as a frank and subversive interpreter of the immigrant experience in America. In this debut collection, she conjures the disturbing and often hilarious experience of adolescence through the eyes of Chinese American...
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