On "My Aeschylus” by Jim ShepardJosh Weil
The best short stories are simultaneously the least understandable and most fully felt. They hits us with undeniable force, a concrete impact...
On "Bad Neighbors" by Edward P. JonesDana Johnson
Everyone knows Edward P. Jones’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Known World. Or at least they should. Regularly, I find myself talking...
On "Florida" by Mavis GallantLynne Tillman
In any Gallant story, life or reality is curious, daunting, often frustrating, sad or tragic. And, she’s funny, too, in her way
On "Brass" by Joy WilliamsChristine Schutt
Aurora, Columbine, Sandy Hook, Charleston, all sites of rampage killings that left four or more dead. Inspired by just such mayhem, “Brass,”...
On "Miss Grief" by Constance Fenimore WoolsonAnne Boyd Rioux
When Constance Fenimore Woolson wrote “Miss Grief,” shortly after her arrival in Europe in late 1879, she was, unlike her eponymous...
On "An Unwritten Novel" by Virginia WoolfKristopher Jansma
I teach two hours from where I live, so I spend a lot of time writing on the bus. It’s quiet and the route is scenic––once we get through North Jersey
On "The Elephant Vanishes" by Haruki MurakamiLily Tuck
Italo Calvino once wrote that he wanted to edit a collection of stories that consisted of one sentence and, as an extraordinary example, he cites...
On "A Love Match" by Sylvia Townsend WarnerEdith Pearlman
“A Love Match” by Sylvia Townsend Warner is the story of brother-sister incest. No, I haven’t spoiled it—the fact of the incest and the...
On "Sex Education" by Dorothy Canfield FisherDon Chaon
I have long been interested in writers who have fallen into neglect. Dorothy Canfield Fisher is, unfortunately, among those whose work is seldom...
On "The Death of a Government Clerk" by Anton ChekhovDeb Olin Unferth
“Death of a Government Clerk” is one of Chekhov’s first published stories. I love it for its comic nonchalance, playful absurdity, brevity...