Because of a dog, I spent last week in a house with lots of good books in it. I picked up a handful of short story collections and read the first story in each. Here are the ones I liked:
“Escapes” by Joy Williams – from Escapes – Magicians, alcoholic Mom, daughter learning to close herself off out of self-defense. This is my first Joy Williams story. There has been a lot of Joy Williams buzz in my life this year. I want to read a novel of hers.
“I Dream of Microwves” by Imad Rahman – from I Dream of Microwaves – It’s hilarious and original and grounded in desperation. But then this review made me think that maybe it’s good that I only read the opener. But it sounded like the reviewer’s tastes are pretty different from mine, so I don’t know.
The Faerie Handbag by Kelly Link – from Magical Thinking – I found it online for you! Link edits Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet and lives where I live. I want to submit to LCRW now.
Sickos by Deb Olin Unferth – This one I read online.
“The Great Divide” by Charles D’Ambrosio – from The Dead Fish Museum
“The Disappearance of Elaine Coleman” by Steven Millhauser – from Dangerous Laughter – I liked the “struggling to remember her” stuff more than the “we made her disappear by ignoring her” stuff.
And then I read the “New Stories” section of Raymond Carver’s Where I’m Calling From. It’s great. It’s like an extension of Cathedral. Except for that last story, “Errand,” which reads mostly like a solid New Journalism piece on Chekhov and makes no sense at the end of the book that sums up the man’s career.