Tag: unnamed major characters

Short story: “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”

“A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” by Flannery O’Connor

First published in The Avon Book of Modern Writing (Avon Books, 1953); anthologized in The House of Fiction (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1960); collected in A Good Man Is Hard to Find (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1955); anthologized all over the place; online hereread by the author here

6,463 words

I like this story without really knowing what it means. I love the grandmother. She’s so annoying, so unwittingly ridiculous, it’s actually cute.

Wikipedia offers several interpretations of the story. J. Stillwell Powers, on the Ploughshares blog, subscribes to the “moment of grace” one, which I like:

“The grandmother experiences her own dismantling as her family is executed. Her attempts to reason with the Misfit prove futile, and she is forced to confront the failure of her worldview as a means for salvation. Stripped of the perspectives she has clung to, she turns inward for redemption, and, in this moment, sees clearly for the first time. Here lies her moment of grace. Beneath the muzzle of the Misfit’s gun, she suddenly perceives the Misfit’s humanity, recognizing it as her own.”

This seems like the interpretation O’Connor most likely intended. Not to imply that the author’s intention is the last word.

Now Bessie Smith’s great rendition of the song of the same title is stuck in my head.


Short story: “Her Brother and His Sister”

“Her Brother and His Sister,” by Bill Kte’pi

Appeared in The Dark, January 2018, online here

2,278 words

A dark, eerie tale.

Short story: “Big Mother”

“Big Mother,” by Anya Ow

Appeared in Strange Horizons in the January 1st, 2018 issue

4,991 words

(Spoilers.) A neat ghost story/monster story, with a bittersweet ending.

I like this line: “‘Go get Dad’s torch,’ I told Kang, who thankfully didn’t argue. Argument would have broken the fragile inch of my determination.” “[F]ragile inch” is good.

Short story: “SPELL to Shed One’s Ideology in the Gods’ Domain”

“SPELL to Shed One’s Ideology in the Gods’ Domain,” by Lucy Biederman

Appeared in Wigleaf, November 2017

317 words

Movingly banal. The main character may never achieve anything notable, but he clings to what he has, thinking nothing bad could ever happen in electronics.

Short story: “A Howling Dog”

“A Howling Dog,” by Nick Mamatas

Featured in PseudoPod 562, September 29th, 2017

2,166 words

Clever, though I thought the ending was rather abrupt and over the top. Of course, if you leave off the ending, it’s not horror.

Short story: “The Rememberer”

“The Rememberer,” by Johanna Skibsrud

Appeared in Granta 141: Canada, online here November 9th, 2017; also online here in Maclean’s Magazine; also online here in Street Level Pundit

3,418 words

A really interesting story, seems to be a kind of parable. Reminds me a bit of Steven Millhauser.

It bothers me that Granta is inconsistent in the way it formats section breaks.

Novel excerpt: “Bastard Alias the Romantic”

“Bastard Alias the Romantic,” by Yuri Herrera, translated from Spanish by Lisa Dillman

Excerpted from The Transmigration of Bodies (from the publisher And Other Stories); appeared in Granta, June 27th, 2016, online here

4,207 words

I thought at first that this was a short story, and perhaps it doesn’t stand on its own that well, since I didn’t really get it as a story. I guess it’s about the creeping fear of death, and the way people avoid or repress it?

I think he rapes her, briefly, at the end, but it’s hard to tell. In any case he deliberately exposes them both to the possibility of catching the plague.

Short story: “Misdemeanors”

“Misdemeanors,” by Ben Eisman

Appeared in The Cincinnati Review, issue 14.1, summer 2017

Maybe 2000 words?

A powerful melancholy pervades this piece. The characters themselves aren’t so much melancholy as stuck in meaningless roles and petty motivations.

Short story: “Monomyth”

“Monomyth,” by Kendra Fortmeyer

Appeared in The Cincinnati Review, issue 14.1, summer 2017

Maybe 5000 words? Not sure

I really like this. The different people’s lives fit together neatly and yet organically. I don’t really get the monomyth conceit though. Maybe it’s a framework in the mind of the failed screenwriter.

Short story: “Empty Frames”

“Empty Frames,” by Juliet Kinder

Appeared in Neon, Issue Forty-Three, August 2016; online here

1103 words

An interesting conceit for a story (or a family character study). It instantly conjures up the bland, anodyne stock images being described.