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

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

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)