Selected short-story reading (vol. 5)

I’m just weeks away from the end my Post-Graduate Diploma in Creative Writing and feeling out of my depth reading stage plays and film scripts and TV treatments. This term is all dramaturgy and I’ve taken solace in short fiction.

As the photo of me reading as a child demonstrates, escaping into story is nothing new—and I’ve got three more absorbing reads to share.

The Daemon Lover‘ by Shirley Jackson

In short
An unnamed woman waits for the man she expects to marry. The narrative unspools over a surprisingly quick-to-read 5,800 words and proves ghosting isn’t just for online dating

My take
Tense, fluid, and oddly spooky. Recommended, even with odd typo in the transcription.

Wer hat Angst vorm Schwarzen Mann? or Who’s Afraid of the Black Man?‘ by Rosabelle Glover

In short
Using a striking mix of English and German (although no foreign language knowledge is necessary to understand the story), parenthetical prose and list format, Glover draws close to the unnamed Black narrator. We feel the prejudice and pain he faces as a child in Germany and the American variation on those injustices as a man.

My take
Highly recommended; it packs a punch (several, really) in under 1,000 words.

The Cat‘ by Tove Ditlevsen
Comic by @promptlypaneled with a cat doing typical cat things and a woman asking "What have you guys got figured out that we don't?"
Having realised that all three stories are a bit depressing, here’s some humour from@PerfectlyPaneled

In short
Another unnamed unnamed woman experiences unresolved tension in a relationship. A train ride, a cat, and a lost pregnancy reveal serious faults in a marriage over just a bit more than 2,000 words.

My take
Ditlevsen is a master of writing sparsely and saying so much. Recommended, especially if your own life is feeling a little bleak.

Other selected short stories

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