Category Archives: fiction

The Night Child by Anna Quinn c. 2018 (224 pages—Blackstone Publishing)

A suspensive story told from the third-person limited perspective in which the protagonist, Nora, wrestles with a past trauma. Written in the present tense, a decision that heightens the urgency and suspense of the narrative, the past is revealed to … Continue reading

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The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo by Ian Stansel c. 2017 (192 pages—Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

A story about a battle between Silas and Frank, brothers whose feud is rooted in the fate of the family ranch. The story opens after Silas, a rugged traditionalist, shoots Frank, his business-minded brother. The tension of the book lies … Continue reading

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The Moonlight Palace by Liz Rosenberg c. 2014 (164 pages—Lake Union Publishing)

Set in Singapore in the 1920, “The Moonlight Palace” is a novella that explores the often blurry and always complex web of cultural heritage. Agnes, the young female protagonist, who is the last surviving member of her royal family, lives … Continue reading

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“Snow Blind” by Elizabeth Strout c. 2015 (pages 306-319 in The O. Henry Prize Stories–originally published in Virginia Quarterly Review)

A short story that illustrates the “Iceberg Theory,” as it manages to convey much using few words. The expansive arc of this story encompasses a girl growing up and going away, realizing a dark truth about her family in the … Continue reading

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The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier c. 2006 (252 pages—Random House)

This inventive story connects the struggles of corporate-sponsored “researchers” to the dramas of deceased people existing in a magical city. During the book, it becomes clear that researcher Laura Byrd—who spends most of the novel alone in the Artic—is the … Continue reading

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“Runaway” by Alice Munro c. 2004 (pages 3-47 in Runaway: Stories)

In this complex and cinematic short story, Carla tries to escape her husband (Clark) with the help of her older neighbor (Sylvia, who is a widow). “Runaway” explores questions of self-definition and of unequal power dynamics within relationships. Sentences Worth … Continue reading

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“The Hermit’s Story” by Rick Bass c. 2017 (pages 163-176 in For a Little While)

In this framed short story that showcases Bass’s dramatic descriptions of nature and human consciousness, the narrator (who is among the few friends to whom Mary Ann has told her story) relays Mary Ann’s adventure with Grey Owl (a dog … Continue reading

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