When I get a piece of flat-pack furniture home, I always reach for the instructions. My friend on the other hand dives in, and as a result, many of her creations don’t look like they should do.
I suppose I take the same approach with writing. I wouldn’t dream of writing a novel without reading widely and daily.
Now that I want to write more short stories I’ve been on a mission to read as many as I can. It’s not that I’ve avoided reading them, I have, it’s just I read more novels than shorts.
To mark progress on this quest, I’ve decided to produce my own Flat-Pack Stories/not quite the Booker prize long list of short stories that I’ve enjoyed the most, so far.
I think I share Nicholas Royle’s view of Flash Fiction. I’m always left wanting more. However, on my long list are some flash fiction stories I’ve found interesting.
Nicholas Royle says:
‘I can count on one hand the number of writers whom I have read who have published pieces of genuine merit that come in under, say, 1000 words.’ (The Best British Short Stories 2013)
I naturally seem to favour longer stories, but the flash fiction stories on my list made an impact and moved me. It shows that if the writing is good it doesn’t matter if the story is one paragraph,one page or a hundred pages long.
I hope you agree with my long list. If you feel I’ve missed out any story or think I should read any other collections, do get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.
The Long list
Lydia Davis – Kafka Cooks Dinner (The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis)
David Constantine – Tea at the Midland (Tea at the Midland)
Anthony Doerr – Memory Wall (Memory Wall)
Ricardo Lisias – Evo Morales (translated by Nick Caistor and in Granta: The Best of Young Brazilian Novelists)
David Gaffney – The Man whose Head Expanded (Sawn-off Tales)
Sarah Hall – The Beautiful Indifference (The Beautiful Indifference)
George Saunders – Tenth of September (The Best American Non-Required Reading 2012)
Tania Hershman – My Mother was an Upright Piano (My Mother was an Upright Piano)
F.C. Malby – Blood Red
Deborah Levy – Black Vodka
David Foster Wallace – Little Expressionless Animals (Girl with Curious Hair)
Alison Moore – The Smell of the Slaughterhouse ( The Best British Short Stories 2013)