On “A Year of Grace,” short story from Nights in the Gardens of Brooklyn by Harvey Swados

Does every reader have the compulsion to seek out authors on the hopes that you’ll find traces of your long-favorite authors in their work? Say, you’ll swear by Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates, by the short fiction of Raymond Carver, of Elizabeth Hardwick—that you’ll willingly flirt with F. Scott Fitzgerald, with Anne Tyler, or the [...]

Stuck, with Ali Smith

For Short Story Month 2010, I read Ali Smith’s collection, The Whole Story and Other Stories. I thought it was okay. I thought it was an uneven collection, mis-stepping several times yet quite lovely, with “fluid language that still manages to escape artsy-fartsy convolutedness.” I especially liked how that collection was dedicated to books and [...]

Standing Witness

I’ve read much of Amy Bloom and consider her one of the most skilled and personally affecting contemporary short story writers I have ever encountered—but reading her latest collection, Where the God of Love Hangs Out, was still a surprise. That is, I was jarred by how good she was. Why have I forgotten? Why [...]

Short Story Month 2011

A Public Service Announcement. Sort of. This is my third year celebrating [yes, celebrating] Short Story Month, organized by Dan Wickett of Emerging Writers Network. I am as excited as ever, not to mention eager to put some long-currently-reading books to rest. [A majority of the short story collections to be featured this May have [...]