The OF Blog: Best of 2013: Short Fiction Collections

Monday, December 23, 2013

Best of 2013: Short Fiction Collections

Short Fiction Read

Tamas Dobozy, Siege 13
George Saunders, Tenth of December
Yoko Ogawa, Revenge
Angélica Gorodischer, Tráfalgar
Karen Russell, Vampires in the Lemon Grove
Jim Gavin, Middle Men
Joan Silber, Fools
Jyrki Vainonen, The Explorer & Other Stories
Ron Rash, Nothing Gold Can Stay
I have not read as many short fiction collections this year compared to years' past, or at least not those released during the calendar year, but the ones I did read I tended to enjoy greatly, so it is a pleasantly difficult task to choose those works that I enjoyed most.  One of the very first books I read this year was Tamas Dobozy's Siege 13 and it is a very striking collection of tales and if it weren't for such a passage of time that its impact has faded more for me compared to the three that I chose, it would have likely made the final three.  The same can be said for Ogawa's themed collection or even Jim Gavin's work.  Joan Silber's Fools was longlisted for the National Book Award and it certainly has several memorable stories.  Vainonen's titular story was excellent and if there were more stories in this slender collection, it too would have merited even further consideration.  And then there is Ron Rash's tales, many of them set in Appalachia, that appeal greatly to this Tennessean reader and occasional critic.  Yes, very difficult choices indeed.  But below are the three collections (and yes, I'm aware that some might argue that one is closer to a mosaic novel, but I found that the book perhaps works better as a collection of tales than a singular narrative) that stuck in my memory the longest and most vividly:

See above review for more thoughts. 

See above review for more.

Simply the best collection I have read in quite some time.  Well deserving of its nomination as a finalist for the 2013 National Book Awards (it was my favorite out of the five works chosen).

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