I’m always amazed when I read a good short story especially since I know that they’re not easy to write. Despite their difficulty, short stories aren’t talked about as much as novels (or maybe I’m wrong?). So, let’s talk about them!
Whether they had me crying or cringing in fear, I’m going to share with you four short stories that moved me this year.
What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah
While the world building, overall story concept, and Nneoma’s unlikable personality were interesting, what moved me was the people Nneoma encountered. She wanted to avoid a young girl, for example, because she could see the child’s pain–and it was a doozy: her family died in a flood, she was abused in refugee camps, and was hated because she wasn’t a full African citizen.
Heartbreaking, right? Nneoma came to tears when she extracted the girl’s pain into herself and, honestly, I almost did too.
Kin by Bruce McAllister
Their relationship starts off professional, but, as we learn more about the alien’s culture and that it’s an exile, the two begin to respect each other.
What makes this relationship moving is that everyone is afraid of the alien and for good reason. It’s kinda creepy:
Closing his eyes, the boy could see the black synthetic skin the alien wore as protection against alien atmospheres. Under that suit ropes of muscles and tendons coiled and uncoiled, rippling even when the alien was still. In the doorway the long neck had not been extended, but he knew what it could do. When it telescoped forward—as it could instantly—the head tipped up in reflex and the jaws opened.
But the boy shocks the alien when he ignores his fears and treats it like a person. Turns out the alien only wanted to be…well, wanted and treated with decency.
Don’t we all?
The Shadow in the Rose Garden by D.H. Lawrence
The difference in how the couple communicated in the beginning (withholding their emotions) versus how they communicated in the end (explosive emotional argument!) is what grabbed my attention. Plus, Lawrence’s writing made me drool. His characters purposely try to hurt each other and the descriptions between their dialogue speaks volumes:
He shrank, and became white, impersonal. There was a long, paralysed silence. He seemed to have gone small.
“You never thought to tell me all this before I married you,” he said, with bitter irony, at last.
To Room Nineteen by Doris Lessing
I thought it was sad how Susan felt so unsatisfied with her life. She couldn’t get the things she craved (like returning to her creative career at the advertising firm) because others depended on her for their happiness. To make matters worse, she was too prideful to express her inner troubles and this unwillingness to be vulnerable is what leads to her downfall.
There you have it: four moving short stories you should make time in your life to read.