A short story a day review

Category: Uncategorized

Traffick by Jim Wilsky

by Brian Lindenmuth

“Traffick” by Jim Wilsky is from the Shotgun Honey Both Barrels anthology.

This story is broken up into two sections, a shorter first section and a longer second section. The first section didn’t really work for me. There can be a fine line sometimes between phonetic and demotic dialog; the former always sounds off to me and is a pet peeve of mine and the latter is often the hallmark of great dialog. The dialog in the first section falls just on the phonetic side of the line. The second section however puts back on firmer crime fiction territory. Lots of criminals butting heads with one another in the section section.


The Last Speaker of the Language, Carol Anshaw, BEST SHORTS OF 2012

by Patti Abbott

A woman who works at Home Depot is tested by her mother while trying to find love.

Demons by Willis Gordon

by Brian Lindenmuth

“Demons” is from the collection The Empty Boulevards by Willis Gordon.

I heard mention of this author on a blog and, as is so easy to do these days, downloaded a sample from his latest collection. “Demons” is the first story.

“Demons” is about a low bottom user, the death of his girl, and his subsequent escape (?) from that life. This is a story that whelmed me. There was nothing wrong with it but nothing wow about it also.

The Other Place, Mary Gaitskill, THE NEW YORKER

by Patti Abbott

A man, and then is son, is attracted to the idea of hurting women. Scary stuff as you expect from the author.

The Shape of My Mouth, Roxane Gay, NIGHT TRAIN

by Patti Abbott

A child is abused by her cousin.

North Country, Roxane Gay, Best Stories of 2012

by Patti Abbott

I am fast becoming a Roxane Gay fan. A black woman takes an academic position in northern Michigan and despite feeling very much the outsider, finds love. A great conceit is the idea that everyone assumes she is from Detroit due to her color. Actually she is from Nebraska. This would rank right near the top of the 355 stories I have read this year.

The Blonde Chimera by Cameron Ashley

by Brian Lindenmuth

“The Blonde Chimera” by Cameron Ashley is from the Shotgun Honey Both Barrels anthology.

This is a skipping stone story in that it is about a PI and his missing girl case but assumes we know the bones of that story type and as such only shows us bits and pieces of the story.

Good story but there is more there, so some readers will want want the rest.

“Christmas Day in the Morning” by Pearl S. Buck

by kattomic

220px-Pearl_Buck_1972“Christmas Day in the Morning” by Pearl S. Buck


Story 356b/366

There’s a terrific website the compiles links for 20 classic Christmas stories, ranging from O.Henry’s brilliant “Gift of the Magi” to Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” (Go here for the main page.)  Outside the Good Earth, this story is the only fiction I’ve read by Buck. (Don’t you love the hat she’s wearing in this picture?)  The story is abouta son’s gift to his father and it’s very heart-warming. You can read the story here.

See you tomorrow!

Verona, A Young Woman Speaks, Harold Brodkey

by Patti Abbott

A woman remembers a happy day from her childhood when she and her parents take an extravagant trip through Italy.

“The Golden Honeymoon” by Ring Lardner

by kattomic

ring lardner“The Golden Honeymoon” by Ring Lardner


Story 355/366

For some reason, though I’ve been posting every day this year–sometimes in batches–the counter on my part of this blog shows I’ve only posted 341 stories, so I’m going to do some bonus stories in the next few days to bring up the count. Starting with this post.

The Lardner short story everyone seems to know the best is “The Haircut” (read it here), but I like “The Golden Honeymoon.”  It’s a story of two couples connected by 50 years of resentment over who was the better man. It was written in 1922.  You can read it here.

See you tomorrow.