Category Archives: fiction

“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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“Waterside” by Marni Berger c. 2016 (pages 213-239 in Glimmer Train)

A reflective story in which a first-person narrator strings together “slices of life” to paint a poignant picture of loss and death and youth and love. Sentences Worth Studying “There are other things besides death to notice, of course, at … Continue reading

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“The Watch” by Rick Bass c. 2017 (pages 45-81 in For a Little While)

In this captivating short story, the protagonist Hollingsworth suffers from his own isolation and seeks to subdue and control the two other major characters in the story: his father Buzbee (who is a virile seventy-seven-year-old man who lives in the … Continue reading

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Exit West by Mohsin Hamid c. 2017 (231 pages—Riverhead Books)

Despite its magical elements—secret doors as portals to other countries—this novel strikes the reader as a real and very relevant commentary on xenophobia, violence, and the refugee crisis. While addressing these weighty issues, Hamid also manages to write a moving … Continue reading

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“Freeman Gottschall Experiences One or Two More or Less Improbable Events” by Joshua D. Graber c. 2016 (pages 153-181 in Glimmer Train)

This short story centers on the random events that impact the protagonist Freeman Gottschall, who was a student of the famed Edward Lorenz, known in popular culture for chaos theory and the “butterfly effect.” Although the story is short, it … Continue reading

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