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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #720, Small Gems in Celebration of Winter Solstice

Mon, 12/16/2019 - 5:55pm by muffy

“To consider yourself well versed in contemporary literature without reading short stories is to visit the Eiffel Tower and say you’ve seen Europe. Not only would monumental writers be missing from your literary tour, but entire angles and moves and structures of which the novel, in its bulk, is incapable.” ~ Rebecca Makkai, Music for Wartime, (2015)

4 debut collections introducing 4 remarkable new voices in short fiction.


Show Them a Good Time: Short Stories by Nicole Flattery (Trinity College, Dublin)  A blisteringly original and wickedly funny collection tells the stories of women slotted into restrictive roles: the celebrity’s girlfriend, the widower’s second wife, the lecherous professor’s student, the corporate employee. And yet, Flattery’s characters blithely demolish the boundaries of these limited and limiting social types with complexity and caustic intelligence.

"A seamless blend of reality and the surreal, Flattery's stories defy genre in an affecting yet unobtrusive manner. Readers should expect to be equal parts intrigued and unsettled." (Publishers Weekly)  For fans of  Mary Gaitskill, Miranda July, Joy Williams, and Ottessa Moshfegh.



This debut collection The Beadworkers: Stories by Beth Piatote (Piatote is Nez Perce, and a Native American Studies professor at UC Berkeley) is “told with humor, subtlety, and spareness that explore the inventive and unforgettable pattern of Native American life in the contemporary world...(with) unifying themes in the strength of kinship, the pulse of longing, and the language of return.”

"Hope and heartbreak abound in this debut collection set among Native Americans in the northwest . . . Piatote balances the emotional complexities of her characters' lives with the political complexity of their relationship with an America all too eager to look away. A poignant and challenging look at the way the past and present collide."  (Kirkus Review)


here_until_august Young Australian author Josephine Rowe's debut collection Here Until August: Stories  is full of heartbreak, travel, and seduction. They follow the fates of characters who, by choice or by force, are traveling beyond the boundaries of their known worlds. These are people who move with the seasons. We meet them negotiating reluctant or cowardly departures, navigating uncertain returns, or biding the disquieting calm that so often precedes moments of decisive action.  

From the Catskills to New South Wales, from the remote and abandoned island outposts of Newfoundland to the sprawl of a North American metropolis, these transformative stories show how the places where we choose to live our lives can just as easily turn us inward as outward.


happy_like_thisThe characters in Happy Like This by Ashley Wurzbacher,  are smart girls and professional women—social scientists, linguists, speech therapists, plant physiologists, dancers—who search for happiness in roles and relationships that are often unscripted or unconventional. In the midst of their ambivalence about marriage, monogamy, and motherhood and their struggles to accept and love their bodies, they look to other women for solidarity, stability, and validation. Sometimes they find it; sometimes they don’t. 

Winner of The John Simmons Short Fiction Award, "Wurzbacher dives into the lives of women in this brilliant collection, examining the ways they live and relate to each other while harboring their own secrets and feelings. Her lyrical prose and unflinchingly confrontational voice are powerful and captivating." (Booklist)








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