I have an essay in the June issue of Real Simple, on newsstands now.
Curtis Smith writes elegant, masterful fiction. In this short short story, The Diorama, about a mother and son during a museum visit, the details are carefully observed. Curtis is the author of four collections of short stories, three novels, and an essay collection. One of his stories appears in Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs.
Prom…it’s about that time of year, isn’t it? This is one of the first stories I “acquired” as fiction co-editor of Literary Mama.
This story, of an Indian bride preparing for her wedding, appears in Tara Masih’s short story collection, which I’ll be giving away at the end of this month.
Although I didn’t meet her then, Kelly Luce and I once lived in the same prefecture in Japan. She later emailed me asking for literary advice, but I could tell, after reading her work, that she didn’t need much help, if any, from me. One of these days we’ll see her collection in print. In the meantime, she’s been publishing stories in all the best literary journals. Here’s a short short story to give you a taste.
Although I do like realistic fiction, I also enjoy odd stories like “Talisman” by Yoko Tawada, a Japanese expat in Germany. Her stories often read like fables or fairy tales. Perhaps it’s due to the proximity to the land of the Grimms Brothers?
The title of today’s story, ”Mazakon,” means “Mother Complex” or “mama’s boy” in English. The author, Mitsuyo Kakuta, is very popular in Japan, but not so well known in the United States. I like her work because she writes about ordinary people and daily life whereas a lot of Japanese fiction in translation is kind of out there.
I wish someone would hurry up and publish more of Rosa Shand’s books. I know she’s written a collection of short stories set in Uganda, where she lived for a time, and also a novel and stories set in her native South Carolina. She has one of the most distinctive voices I’ve ever read, and I loved her novel The Gravity of Sunlight. I also loved this story, set among expats in Africa.
No celebration of short fiction would be complete without mention of Lorrie Moore, one of my all time favorite writers. It’s hard to pick one story by her, but ”How to Be a Writer” is one of my top ten favorite Lorrie Moore stories. Moore invented the “mock imperative” form, of which this is one example, and which has been frequently imitated. My story “You’re So Lucky,” which appears in The Beautiful One Has Come is heavily influenced by Moore.
I discovered Julio Cortazar when I was in college and became a huge fan. I especially like his short stories, including “Bestiary,” which features a tiger on the loose in a mansion, and Letter to a Young Lady in Paris, which involves bunnies.