Marion’s Eight All-Time Favorite Short Stories (Part Two)

by | Dec 20, 2023 | Marion's Favorite Books, Marion's Favorites, Marion's Reading Life Blog, Short Story Review, Wisdom From Kammbia Column | 0 comments


I recently posted part one of my all-time favorite short stories. Here is the second half of my list and represents the short fiction that has stayed with me as a reader.

5) Galapago by Kali Fajardo-Anstine: This story comes from the excellent short story collection, Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine. Galapago tells the story of Pearla Ortiz, a widow, who has an encounter with a man that breaks into her home. Pearla’s granddaughter, Alana, comes to live with her and wants to sell the house and move her grandmother into senior housing. Pearla refuses to sell for sentimental reasons and one night faces the trespasser with tragic consequences. The story captures both widowhood and the dynamics of a neighborhood in transition.

6) L’Alchimista by N.K. Jemisin: L’Alchimsta is a story from her How Long ‘Til Black Future Month collection. It tells the story of Franca, a talented but frustrated chef working in a small Italian inn where she sees her career has come to a dead end.  However, a mysterious stranger comes to the inn and offers her to make an unusual dish that will test her abilities on several levels.  Franca agrees to make this unusual dish and the mysterious stranger is pleased with the chef deciding to take on the challenge. She makes the dish and gets offered a new opportunity that will cause her to make a life-changing decision. Does she accept his offer or reject it? Jemisin shows a versatility in this story that would belie her reputation. L’Alchimsta is a story that I often think about and believe should be taught in high-school and college literature courses.

7) Haven by Alice Munro: Alice Munro is one of the modern masters of the short story and I had not heard of her until I read this story.  Haven comes from the Dear Life collection and tells the story a thoughtful coming-of-age story of a young girl having to stay with her ultra-religious uncle and aunt because of her parents going to Africa for humanitarian purposes. The girl’s uncle, Jasper, has created a world that caters to him and his religious views. Aunt Dawn plays her role as the submissive wife and the young girl cannot understand why she has taken such a position in their marriage. Munro thoughtfully writes about extreme religiosity and how a young girl navigates a world where she encounters contrasting beliefs. Haven is a subtle story that reveals a lot underneath the surface. Alice Munro’s story was the perfect icebreaker for me to read short stories.

8) Can You Wear My Eyes by Kalamu ya Salaam: Do men and women really know each other? Kalamu ya Salaam challenges readers in his thought-provoking short story, “Can You Wear My Eyes,” which is part of the innovative Dark Matter anthology. The story’s narrator, a deceased wife, gives her blind husband her eyes to see the world. The husband uncovers a side of his wife he never knew existed. The complexities of a marriage are showcased in this story, revealing how our restless spirits can undermine everlasting love. Although its just four pages, this story packs quite a punch and is highly recommended for couples in premarital counseling.

These are my eight all-time favorite short stories. I hope novel readers will add short stories in their reading lives and these stories are a good place to start.


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