The best of the best: must reads from recent fiction selections

The following titles have been chosen from our monthly new fiction selections. They are all highly recommended for great reading.

Syndetics book coverCompany Town / Madeline Ashby.
“A brilliantly twisted science fiction mystery.”

Syndetics book coverWaking lions / Ayelet Gundar-Goshen ; translated from the Hebrew by Sondra Silverston.
“A thrilling novel from an award winning author that explores the boundaries between love and hate, guilt and forgiveness, good and evil.”

Syndetics book coverReader, I married him : stories inspired by Jane Eyre / edited by Tracy Chevalier.
“Twenty one short stories celebrating Charlotte Bronte, published in the year of her bicentenary and stemming from the now immortal words from her great work Jane Eyre. The stories are by many much acclaimed authors, original and very entertaining.”

Syndetics book coverThe crow girl / Erik Axl Sund ; translated by Neil Smith.The Crow Girl
“Another international sensation, this new Scandinavian murder mystery will not disappoint.”

Syndetics book coverGahan Wilson’s Out there / editor, Gary Groth.
“The joy of the science fiction and fantasy cartoons and writing of Gahan Wilson, guaranteed to make you laugh.”

New ‘Other Genres’ fiction, this month featuring short stories

This month’s ‘Other Genres’ fiction features Short Stories. In this selection several edited collections of short stories have been included, with one by New Zealand writers, titled At the edge. Highly recommended is the much acclaimed author Mark Haddon’s debut collection titled The pier falls: and other stories.

Syndetics book coverAt the edge / edited by Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray.
“A new collection of short stories by twenty-one New Zealand writers.” (Adapted from book cover)

Syndetics book coverMultitudes : eleven stories / Lucy Caldwell.
Multitudes is the beautiful debut story collection from the acclaimed, prize-winning novelist and playwright Lucy Caldwell. From Belfast to London and back again the ten stories that comprise Caldwell’s first collection explore the many facets of growing up, the pain and the heartache, the tenderness and the joy, the fleeting and the formative, or ‘the drunkenness of things being various’.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDesperate Detroit : and stories of other dire places / Loren D. Estleman.
Desperate Detroit and Stories of Other Dire Places represents forty years of suspense writing in the short form. Previously published in a host of magazines and anthologies, with a new Preface and introductions to the stories written especially for this collection, these eighteen tales feature gangsters, private eyes, psychotic killers, hitmen, feuding families, prostitutes, prizefighters, bodyguards, corrupt cops, the walking dead, and ordinary people driven by desperation to commit acts of violence.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe pier falls : and other stories / Mark Haddon.
“Nine brilliant stories from a much acclaimed writer. Set in the Victorian era and the future, in commonplace and supernatural worlds, the stories are united by a cast of dispossessed characters plagued by violence or despair.” (Adapted from Book cover)

Syndetics book coverThe paper menagerie and other stories / Ken Liu.
“Ken Liu now shares his finest short fiction in The Paper Menagerie. This mesmerizing collection features all of Ken’s award-winning and award-finalist stories, including: “The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary” (Finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and Theodore Sturgeon Awards),and “Mono No Aware” (Hugo Award winner).” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe doll-master and other tales of terror / Joyce Carol Oates.
“Six terrifying tales to chill the blood from the unique imagination of Joyce Carol Oates. A young boy plays with dolls instead of action figures. But as he grows older, his passion takes on a darker edge. A white man shoots dead a black boy creating a media frenzy. But could it be that it was self-defense as he claims? A nervous woman tries to escape her husband. He says he loves her, but she’s convinced he wants to kill her. These quietly lethal stories reveal the horrors that dwell within us all.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSome possible solutions : stories / Helen Phillips.
“A spine-tingling new collection, the “unique”and “wickedly funny” Helen Phillips offers an idiosyncratic series of “what-ifs” about our fragile human condition. Forced to navigate these bizarre scenarios, Phillips’ characters search for solutions to the problem of how to survive in an irrational, infinitely strange world. In dystopias that are exaggerated versions of the world in which we live, these characters strive for intimacy and struggle to resolve their fraught relationships with each other, with themselves, and with their place in the natural world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverReader, I married him : stories inspired by Jane Eyre / edited by Tracy Chevalier.
“The twenty-one stories in Reader, I Married Him, one of the most celebrated lines in fiction are inspired by Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre. This collection, published in the year of her bicentenary, is shaped by its perennially fascinating themes of love, compromise and self-determination.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeleted scenes for lovers / Tracey Slaughter.
“Seventeen powerful stories of contemporary New Zealand life from a writer whose penetrating gaze reveals the full experience of her characters’ lives, tragic, comic, rich.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUnder thunderous skies : eight tales of China meeting non-China / Miodrag Kojadinović.
“A girl in Shanghai in high-heels holds a doomed rabbit at the bequest of a client in Germany. The consul of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in Canton talks with his mistress about their future of their son. A Chinese man cleans up the fingerprints around his European boyfriend’s body in an apartment in Macao. These unusual and intriguing stories of interactions between Chinese and non-Chinese are the work of author Miodrag Kojadinovic, born in Serbia and for eight years a teacher of English in a remote corner of China.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New ‘Other Genres’ for September, this month featuring short stories

Short stories are the feature of this month’s new ‘Other Genres’ fiction, and this selection of collections showcases the talent and skill of each author. Included is the New Zealand writer David McDougall’s collection, titled The Abyssinian mountain lion & other stories.

Syndetics book coverA manual for cleaning women : selected stories / Lucia Berlin ; edited and with an introduction by Stephen Emerson ; foreword by Lydia Davis.
“A collection of the best work of the legendary short-story writer Lucia Berlin. With the grit of Raymond Carver, the humor of Grace Paley, and a blend of wit and melancholy all her own, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday, uncovering moments of grace in the Laundromats and halfway houses of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Bay Area upper class, among switchboard operators and struggling mothers, hitchhikers and bad Christians.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYour father sends his love / Stuart Evers.
“Eleven unforgettable stories of parental love and parental mistakes. Set in the past, present and future, they are unified by their compassion, animated by the unsaid and distinguished by how beautifully they extract the luminous from the ordinary.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlack glass : short fictions / Karen Joy Fowler.
“Black Glass showcases the extraordinary talents of this prizewinning author. In fifteen gemlike tales, her wit and vision roam freely, turning accepted norms inside out and fairy tales upside down, pushing us to reconsider our unquestioned verities and proving once again that she is among our most subversive writers.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe complete stories / Clarice Lispector ; translated from the Portuguese by Katrina Dodson ; introduction by Benjamin Moser ; edited by Benjamin Moser.
“For the first time in English, are all the Clarice Lispector stories that made her a Brazilian legend: from teenagers coming into awareness of their sexual and artistic powers to humdrum housewives whose lives are shattered by unexpected epiphanies to old people who don’t know what to do with themselves.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The Abyssinian Mountain LionThe Abyssinian mountain lion & other stories / David McDougall.
“David McDougall reintroduces the reader to that most excellent thing: the good yarn. Meet the neighbour with a war history who can’t help interfering with goings-on over the fence, a woman on a train who’ll go to any lengths to clear her student debt, a bunch of mates on a hunting trip who fear dire consequences after shooting a fantail, and a retired husband whose wife irons his shorts for Valentine’s Day and leaves him perplexed about how to return the favour. These are stories of humour and melancholy, love and vice.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMusic for wartime : stories / Rebecca Makkai.
“This award-winning writer’s collection bears her signature mix of intelligence, wit, and heart. A reality show producer manipulates two contestants into falling in love, even as her own relationship falls apart. Just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a young boy has a revelation about his father’s past when a renowned Romanian violinist plays a concert in their home. When the prized elephant of a traveling circus keels over dead, the small-town minister tasked with burying its remains comes to question his own faith. In an unnamed country, a composer records the folk songs of two women from a village on the brink of destruction.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThree moments of an explosion : stories / China Miéville.
“The fiction of multiple award-winning author China Miéville is powered by intelligence and imagination, using a variety of genres with equal facility, employing the fantastic not to escape from reality, but instead to interrogate it in provocative, unexpected ways. Of such concepts and unforgettable images are made the twenty-eight stories in this collection. By turns speculative, satirical, and heart-wrenching, fresh in form and language, and featuring a cast of damaged yet hopeful seekers who come face-to-face with the deep weirdness of the world, and at times the deeper weirdness of themselves.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverViral : stories / Emily Mitchell.
“A strange guidebook tells foreign visitors how to travel in a recognizable but dreamlike United States where mirrors are haunted and the Statue of Liberty wears a bowler hat; a supervisor in a department store must discipline his employees for failing to smile enough at their customers and finds himself unexpectedly drawn to the saddest of them all; a woman agrees to buy her daughter a robot pet to help her cope after a divorce, then is horrified when her little girl chooses an enormous spider for a companion. The characters in these mesmerizing stories find that the world they thought they knew has shifted and changed, become bizarre, disorienting, and, occasionally, miraculous. Told with absurdist humor and sweet sadness, is about being lost in places that are supposed to feel like home.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA Paris affair / Tatiana de Rosnay ; translated from the French by Sam Taylor.
“This collection of eleven stories examines our most intimate and forbidden desires. What takes place in Paris when husbands and wives tangle with infidelity?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe All Saints’ Day lovers / Juan Gabriel Vasquez ; translated from the Spanish by Anne McLean.
“Achingly sad and beautifully crafted, The All Saints’ Day Lovers is a remarkable and intense exploration of relationships, loneliness and cruelty. The seven stories are set mainly in the starkly beautiful landscape of Belgium’s Ardennes. A Colombian writer is witness to a murder which will mark him forever. A woman sits alone in her house, waiting for her husband to return, while he lies in another woman’s bed twenty kilometers away.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Other Genre fiction for October

Short story collections by a single author feature in this month’s selection of new ‘Other Genre’ fiction. All the authors show astounding skill writing in this difficult genre. The story collections range from suspense to crime, love to horror, from the Mexican American border to Sri Lanka. Sometimes they will shock or amuse, surprise or sadden, but they will all leave the reader wanting more.

Syndetics book coverBorderline / by Lawrence Block.
“This book includes three of Lawrence Block’s rarest short stories, from the pages of pulp magazines of half a century ago. This is MWA Grand Master Lawrence Block at his rawest and most visceral, bloody, bawdy, brutal stories of passion and punishment and of lines that were never meant to be crossed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShots fired : stories from Joe Pickett Country / C.J. Box.
“From C. J. Box, the New York Times-bestselling author of the Joe Pickett novels, comes a thrilling book of suspense stories about the Wyoming he knows so well and the dark deeds and impulses that can be found there. Over the course of eighteen books, C. J. Box has been consistently hailed for his brilliant storytelling and extraordinary skills at creating character, suspense, and a deep sense of place. All of those strengths are in the ten riveting stories; three of them never before published that make up Shots Fired.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNoontide toll : stories / Romesh Gunesekera.
“The driver’s job is to stay in control behind the wheel and that is all. The past is what you leave as you go. There is nothing more to it. Vasantha retired early, bought himself a van with his savings, and now works as a driver for hire. As he drives through Sri Lanka, carrying aid workers, businessmen, and families and meeting lonely soldiers and eager hoteliers, he engages them with self-deprecating wit and folksy wisdom-and reveals for us their uncertain lives .A wonderful collection of stories that are perceptive, somber, and draw a potent portrait of postwar Sri Lanka and the ghosts of civil war.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverProblems with People : Stories / David Guterson.
“Ten sharply observed, funny, and wise new stories that are stunning explorations of the mysteries of love and our complex desire for connection. From youth to old age, the voices that inhabit Problems with People offer tender, unexpected, and always tightly focused accounts of our quest to understand each other, individually, and as part of a political and historical moment. They celebrate the ordinary yet brightening surprises that lurk within the dramas of our daily lives.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe assassination of Margaret Thatcher and other stories / Hilary Mantel.
“A brilliant and rather transgressive collection of short stories from the double Man Booker Prize-winning author of ‘Wolf Hall’ and ‘Bring Up the Bodies’.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe love object : selected stories / Edna O’Brien.
“Collected here together for the first time in one volume are the stories of an expert practitioner of the shorter form. Spanning five decades of writing, here you will find stories about families, feuds, love and land; enchantment, disenchantment, and throughout, the manifold bonds of love. Here are stories about the tension between country and city life, the instinct towards escape and nostalgia for home.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEngland and other stories / Graham Swift.
“These twenty-five new stories mark Graham Swift’s return to the short form after seven acclaimed novels and confirm him as a master storyteller. They unite into a richly peopled vision of a country that is both a crucible of history and a maze of contemporary confusions. From the Civil War to the present day, from world-shaking events to the secret dramas lived out in rooms, workplaces, homes, Graham Swift charts an intimate human geography, and always with a constant eye for comedy.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLast stories and other stories / William T. Vollmann.
“In this magnificent new work of fiction, his first in nine years, celebrated author William T. Vollmann offers a collection of ghost stories linked by themes of love, death, and the erotic. Are ghosts memories, fantasies, or monsters? Is there life in death? In the shadowy borderland between categories, and these eerie tales, however far-flung their settings, all focus on the attempts of the living to avoid, control, or even seduce death.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMothers Grimm / Danielle Wood.
“In a fairytale, the only good mother is six feet under. All the others are bad news. A fairytale mother will exchange her first-born child for a handful of leafy greens. And if times get tough, she’ll walk her babes into the woods and leave them there. But mothers of today do no such things. Do they? In this collection of heart breaking honest stories, the mothers of the Brothers Grimm are brought, with wit, subversion and lyrical prose, into the here and now.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

February’s Other Genres, this month Short Stories

An exciting selection of Short Story collections make up this month’s fiction Other Genres section. Highly recommend reading, from well know fiction writes including Emma Donoghue, Sue Grafton, Joanne Harris, and Alice Munro.

Syndetics book coverAstray / Emma Donoghue.
“The fascinating characters that roam across the pages of Emma Donoghue’s latest fact-inspired fictions have all gone astray: they are emigrants, runaways, drifters. They cross other borders, too: those of race, law, sex and sanity. They travel for love or money, incognito or under duress.” (adpated from book cover)

Syndetics book coverKinsey and me : stories / Sue Grafton.
“Kinsey Millhone, PI, captures vengeful murderers, exposes elaborate scams, and outsmarts the criminals in her usual witty, lovable way in nine stories written between 1986 and 1991 and first privately published in a limited edition of 300 copies. These tales are every bit as engaging to read as Grafton’s full-length novels. The second section of this collection features the character of Kit Blue as the author herself, writing a fictionalized history of her own difficulties growing up as the child of alcoholic parents.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA cat, a hat, and a piece of string : stories / by Joanne Harris.
“A second short story collection from Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat and Peaches for Monsieur le Curé. Stories are like Russian dolls; open them up, and in each one you’ll find another story. Conjured from a wickedly imaginative pen, this is a new collection of short stories that showcases Joanne Harris’s exceptional storytelling art.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverReality, reality / Jackie Kay.
“These stories are about memories, love, sex and the power of the imagination to see us through the most difficult times. The women of Reality, Reality are mesmerizing, whether in love or in solitude. Grace and Rose, glowing with pride, are the first to marry on Shetland; Hadassah, named for the Morning Star, burns as brightly. Margaret, alone in her care home, places her hope in a cherry red cardigan; Elina Makropulos, whose voice is the toast of generations, is desperate to be allowed to grow old. Stef cooks for made-up judges on the TV show in her head. Pat diets for one hundred and forty-three days to find her ‘Mini-me’. Dionne longs for a child; Mrs Vadnie Marlene Sevlon for her husband. And Elizabeth Ellen carries her new baby into a future she didn’t know could be hers. In these fifteen extraordinary stories, Jackie Kay celebrates the richness and power of dream-life to inspire, to repair, and to make real.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverLet the old dreams die : and other stories / John Ajvide Lindqvist ; translated from the Swedish by Marlaine Delargy.
“From the author of the acclaimed vampire novel, Let the right one in, this collection of stories show John Ajvide Lindqvist’s rich imagination. They are about love and death and what we do when the two collide and the monsters emerge.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverLove is murder / edited by Sandra Brown. Love Is Murder
“Love Is Murder is the third Thriller anthology written exclusively by members of International Thriller Writers, Inc., that has 1635 members representing 28 countries worldwide and over three billion books in print. This anthology features 30 tales of suspense from very popular writers such as Lori Armstrong, Lee Child, and Sherrilyn Kenyon, The action spans the globe, imparting a real feel for locales as diverse as the Mexican jungle; Halifax, Nova Scotia; London, England; and south Texas.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverThe midnight promise : a detective’s story in ten cases / Zane Lovitt.
“John Dorn is a private investigator. Just like his father used to be. It says private inquiry agent in John’s yellow pages ad because that’s what his old man called himself, back before his business folded, his wife left him and he drank himself to death. But John’s not going to end up like his father. He doesn’t have a wife, or much business. He doesn’t really drink, either. Not yet. In each of these ten delicious stories Zane Lovitt presents an intriguing investigation filled with humour and complex, beautifully observed characters. At their centre is John Dorn, solving not so much crimes as funny human puzzles; but the crimes, and the criminals, are forever lurking nearby, taunting him from the city’s cold underworld.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverDear life / Alice Munro.
“Alice Munro captures the essence of life in her brilliant new collection of stories. Moments of change, chance encounters, the twist of fate that leads a person to a new way of thinking or being: the stories in Dear Life build to form a radiant, indelible portrait of just how dangerous and strange ordinary life can be. Many of these stories are grounded in Munro’s home territory, the small Canadian towns around Lake Huron. The book ends with four powerful pieces, ‘autobiographical in feeling’, set during the time of Munro’s own childhood, in the area where she grew up. Munro describes this quartet as ‘not quite stories’ but ‘the first and last and the closest things I have to say about my own life’.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverSignificant objects / [edited by] Rob Walker & Joshua Glenn.
“Can a great story transform a worthless trinket into a significant object? The Significant objects project set out to answer that question once and for all, by recruiting a highly impressive crew of creative writers to invent stories about an unimpressive menagerie of items rescued from thrift stores and yard sales. That secondhand flotsam definitely becomes more valuable: sold on eBay, objects originally picked up for a dollar or so sold for thousands of dollars in total making the project a sensation in the literary blogosphere along the way. But something else happened, too: The stories created were astonishing, a cavalcade of surprising responses to the challenge of manufacturing significance. Who would have believed that random junk could inspire so much imagination?” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSunscreen & lipstick / stories by Kim Scott … [et. al.] ; [introduction by Liz Byrski].
“From the mad excitement of first love to the grief of losing a parent, this is a summer collection about mums, daughters, wives and girlfriends from some of Australia’s best-loved writers. Included are stories by Elizabeth Jolley, Liz Byrski and Joan London.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

New short story collections: Lovecraft, meditations on silence, and stories from three decades of American life

Enjoy short stories? Here are ten collections of short stories new to our shelves this month. Included are stories by Don Delillo, Richard Matheson’s classic Real Steel, and stories from the brilliant, late David Foster Wallace. There’s a collection of six classic horror stories by H. P. Lovecraft all set in his (fictional – thank goodness!) Massachusetts city of Arkham – and at the other end of the spectrum, a heart-warming collection of Christmas stories from Cathy Kelly. Plus, astronauts in space, a new collection from Jeanette Turner Hospital, and more. Have a browse!

Syndetics book coverThe angel Esmeralda : nine stories / Don DeLillo.
“A collection of nine stories written between 1979 and 2011 that chronicle three decades of American life from the perspective of a range of characters, including a pair of nuns in the South Bronx and two astronauts orbiting the Earth.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSilence : (fictions) / Rodney Hall.
“Silence is an exquisite, poignant collection of ‘fictions’ by one of Australia’s finest writers. Each piece has its own startling imagery. This is a book that constantly surprises with its echoes of famous voices, and how the astonishing breadth of material, historical, personal, imagined, is held together by its central theme and by a web of subtle connections.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverForecast : turbulence / Janette Turner Hospital.
“Violent weather pervades this breathtaking collection, reflecting the cataclysmic emotions swirling through the lives of the protagonists. A loner becomes obsessed with the face of a beautiful neighbour whom he has never actually met, though his fantasies about her, unwisely shared with others, lead to his being falsely accused of her murder. Two feisty yet fragile teenagers meet in the prison where they are forced to visit their abusive stepfathers. The upward trajectory of talented and academically successful sisters takes a nose dive following the terribly public exposure of their father as a paedophile.” (adapted from Book cover)

Syndetics book coverChristmas magic / Cathy Kelly.
“Cathy Kelly, has created her first collection of heart-warming short stories. From Dolores and Genevieve, two spinster sisters who must finally break free from their mother’s powerful personality, to Alice, who is facing having to open her home and her heart to the one visitor that she doesn’t want this Christmas, from a captivating family story triggered by a letter to Lily’s disastrous arrival at her best friend’s wedding, these are stories to make you laugh, cry and nod in recognition.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverHorror out of Arkham / tales by H.P. Lovecraft ; [illustrations by menton3].
“One of H.P. Lovecraft’s most famous creations, the city of Arkham, Massachusetts, plays a prominent role in many of the influential author’s tales of the macabre. This collection of six classic tales of horror all feature the Lovecraft Country locale. “ (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSteel, and other stories / Richard Matheson.
“Richard Matheson’s classic short story is the basis for Real Steel, a gritty, white-knuckle film starring Hugh Jackman. But “Steel,” which was previously filmed as a powerful episode of the original Twilight Zone television series, is just one of over a dozen unforgettable tales in this outstanding collection, which includes two new stories that have never appeared in any previous Matheson collection. Also featured is a bizarre satirical fantasy, “The Splendid Source,” that was turned into an episode of “The Family Guy.” (adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverThe corn maiden and other nightmares / Joyce Carol Oates.
“A volume of six stories and novellas by the National Book Award-winning author of We Were the Mulvaneys includes the title story, in which the disappearance of a sweet blonde-haired child is linked to her mother’s indiscretions, a too-obvious schoolteacher and an older student with a fascination for a Native American legend.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlueprints for building better girls : fiction / Elissa Schappell.
“From the acclaimed author of Use Me, eight provocative and darkly funny linked stories that explore the commonly shared, but rarely spoken of experiences that build girls into women and women into wives and mothers, mapping America’s shifting cultural landscape from the late 1970s to the present day.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBrief interviews with hideous men / David Foster Wallace.
“David Foster Wallace has made an art of taking readers into places no other writer even gets near. In this exuberantly acclaimed collection of twenty-two stories, he combines hilarity and an escalating disquiet in stories that astonish, entertain, and expand our ideas of the pleasures that fiction can afford.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGirl with curious hair / David Foster Wallace.
“This collection could possibly represent the first flowering of post-postmodernism: visions of the world that re-imagine reality as more realistic than we can imagine. From the eerily “real,” almost holographic evocations of historical figures like Lyndon Johnson and over televised game-show hosts and late-night comedians to the title story, where terminal punk nihilism meets Young Republicanism, Wallace renders the incredible comprehensible, the bizarre normal, the absurd hilarious, the familiar strange. “ (adapted from Syndetics summary)

New genre fiction: Short stories

Enjoy short stories? Try these collections of gravedigger’s tales, New Zealand speculative fiction, hardboiled British crime fiction, fairytales from the Romantic Movement, and more…

Syndetics book coverPulse / Julian Barnes.
“The stories in Julian Barnes’ long-awaited third collection are attuned to rhythms and currents: of the body, of love and sex, illness and death, connections and conversations and range from the domestic to the extraordinary, from the vineyards of Italy to the English seaside in winter Each character is bent to a pulse, propelled on by success and loss, by new beginnings and endings.” (adapted from Amazon)

Syndetics book coverGryphon : new and selected stories / Charles Baxter.
“From a writer whose work reminds one of how broad and deep and shining a story can be (Alice Munro) comes a selection that gathers the best from his four earlier collections as well as seven previously uncollected stories.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe best American short stories 2010 : selected from U.S. and Canadian magazines / by Richard Russo with Heidi Pitlor ; with an introduction by Richard Russo.
“Edited by the award-winning, best-selling author Richard Russo, this year’s collection boasts a satisfying chorus of twenty stories that are by turns playful, ironic, somber, and meditative.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe gravedigger’s tale : fables of fear / Simon Clark.
“Every gravedigger has a story to tell. Some are humorous, some poignant. But most gravedigger’s tales have to be placed firmly in the category of horror. Join Simon Clark as he presents an array of ghosts, eerie encounters and haunted landscapes to astonish the imagination and invoke shivers aplenty.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA foreign country : New Zealand speculative fiction / edited by Anna Caro and Juliet Buchanan.
A Foreign Country brings together the work of established authors and fresh new voices to showcase the range of stories produced by New Zealand’s growing community of speculative fiction writers. Humorous, disturbing, intriguing, cautionary, and ultimately hopeful, these tales tell of  different worlds,  situations and possiblities.” (adapted from the book cover)

Syndetics book coverA darker shade of blue / John Harvey.
“John Harvey has been described as the master of British crime and in A Darker Shade of Blue he has collected together some of his very best writing. From the killing fields of the East Midlands to the mean streets of London, from the jazz clubs and clip joints of Soho to the barren fenlands of East Anglia, this is a world of broken families and run-down estates, revenge killings and prostitution, drugs, guns and corruption; a world of overstretched police forces and underpaid detectives, men and women who strive nonetheless for a kind of justice; a world in which everything, even friendship, has a price.” (adapted from Amazon)

Syndetics book coverGold boy, emerald girl / Yiyun Li.
“In this collection of spellbinding stories, the acclaimed author of “A Thousand Years of Good Prayers” delivers exquisite fiction filled with suspense, depth, and beauty.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVoice of America : stories / E.C. Osondu.
“Set dually in Nigeria and America, this electrifying debut story collection from the 2009 winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing moves from the fears and dreams of boys and girls in villages and refugee camps to the disillusionment and confusion of young married couples living in America.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPhiladelphia noir / edited by Carlin Romano.
“This collection of 15 original crime stories follows on from  Detroit Noir, another volume set in a less glamorous metropolis.” (adapted from Syndetic summary)

Syndetics book coverRomantic fairy tales / translated and edited by Carol Tully.
“This collection, vividly illustrating the development of German Romanticism, presents four of the genre’s key texts that still have the power to enchant and disturb. Goethe’s The Fairy Tale (1795) is an ethereal story of prophecy and resurrection that helped establish of the genre. Ludwig Tieck’s Eckbert the Fair (1792) is a dark story of incest and murder. Friedrich de la Motte Fouque describes the unhappy fate of a wood nymph with the soul of a woman in Undine (1811). In The Tale of Honest Casper and Fair Annie (1817), Clemens Brentano tells the tale of young couple destroyed by a false sense of honour.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)