10 Short Stories I Loved in 2014

Phil Klay. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Below is a guest post from Pravesh Bhardwaj, a filmmaker based in Mumbai who has been posting his favorite short stories all year. 

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I started posting short stories using the hashtags #Fiction and #Longreads last year. The idea was to read something new and discover stories and authors instead of just sitting in my chair, staring at the laptop screen. Short stories were meant to be a ‘worthy’ distraction from my effort towards writing (rather, attempting to write) a screenplay.

Every day after dinner I looked for something fresh from free sources including The New Yorker—which was kind enough to unlock their entire collection for a few months this year—Granta, GuernicaBerfrois, Narrative Magazine, Electric Literature, Esquire, Barcelona Review and The Paris Review. I’d love your suggestions, too—you can direct them to me at @AuteurPravesh on Twitter.

Here are the 10 short stories that I enjoyed reading the most, in random order:

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“In Other Rooms, Other Wonders” (Daniyal Mueenuddin, The New Yorker 2008)

Lovely story from the lovely collection of the same name.

“The House Behind a Weeping Cherry” (Ha Jin, The New Yorker 2008)

I thoroughly enjoy Ha Jin’s writing. This year I also read his novel Waiting and loved that too.

“In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried” (Amy Hempel, TriQuarterly, 2007)

This was a blind discovery. Can’t wait to read her other works.

“Scheherazade” (Haruki Murakami, The New Yorker 2014)

If you are going to read just one story out of the ten that I am recommending, then make it this one.

“One Gram Short” (Etgar Keret, The New Yorker 2014)

I have never seen an Etgar Keret book in a bookstore in Mumbai. Either I am going to the wrong shops or I should go ahead and order online.

“The Hunter’s Wife” (Anthony Doerr, The Atlantic 2001)

I read many glowing reviews of All the Light We Cannot See, which appears on most of the year-end lists this year. I started looking for him and found this gem.

“Fewer Scruples” (Javier Marías, Barcelona Review 1999)

I also liked Marías’s novel Infatuations, though not many of his books are available here in India.

“Agreeable” (Jonathan Franzen, The New Yorker 2010)

“Girl with Lizard” (Bernhard Schlink, The New Yorker 2001)

Super story from the writer whose novel The Reader I also thoroughly enjoyed.

“After Action Report” (Phil Klay)

Phil Klay’s short story collection Redeployment is perhaps the most recommended short story collection of the year. This story is from the same collection. There is another one, “OIF,” at the Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading.