Monday, December 22, 2008

Best short fiction reads of 2008

Today, I look back at the shorter fiction I read in 2008. I am going to include what I consider novellas as well as short story collections.

So Long, See You Tomorrow - Maxwell
Chess Story - Zweig
Unaccustomed Earth - Lahiri
Lost Paradise - Noteboom
The Dead Fish Museum - D'Ambrosio

I almost though I was going to include and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, A Private Affair, and Cal too, but when I looked back, they were all nearly 200 pages or more. That would have even made the choice more difficult. How to chose between Stefan Zweig's humane and psychologically acute 90-page tale of suspense and William Maxwell's crispt, elegant American tragedy? This one is tough, but I think I am going to go with Zweig. It is an entwined accomplishment of the heart and the head and I am probably biased by elements of my own family's history. I also want to make a special mention of Charles D'Ambrosio's collection of lean, poetic, and idiosyncratic stories. Really marvelous.


Anonymous said...

I'm going to pick up D'Ambrosio's book when I head to the states next week, I have been looking forward to trying him since I read your thoughts on him.

Ted said...

Verb - I can really see you enjoying the music of his writing. Enjoy your trip back to our side of the Atlantic!

emmat said...

I enjoyed the dead fish Museum. Which I bought in Chelsea, London! From Crockatt and Powell, who can always be relied upon to find the best American writing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the post. Short fiction is not the genre I usually read. But I have had Lahiri's book on my nightstand, after thoroughly enjoying The Namesake.

Chess Machine is something I have to finish. I just set about writing the end-of-the-year review. I'm trying to come up with some interesting categories.

Unknown said...

I really must get around to The Dead Fish Museum.

Ted said...

Matt - Did you like The Chess Machine? I heard about it from Sam and have it sitting on my pile, having not gotten to it yet.

C. B. - I'd love to hear what you think of D'Ambrosio. I'm going to try to pick up another recent story collection or two for the beginning of '09. That and a neat little volume of Tennessee Williams I was the winner of!