This season, settle in with some stellar collections that will give the quick fix only short stories can provide. From dark indigenous fiction to YA adoptee stories, there is such a wealth of wonderful reading to dive into this fall in the short story sector.
Normal Rules Don’t Apply: Stories by Kate Atkinson 9/12
Kate Atkinson, acclaimed author of Shrines of Gaiety and Life After Life, presents an enchanting collection of eleven interconnected stories. Everything readers adore about her novels, from inventive storytelling to sharp human insights, is woven into this volume. The tales in Normal Rules Don’t Apply blur reality, featuring a queen’s unkept bargain, a secretary’s post-life vigil, and a man’s horse-speaking gamble. A witty, wise, and imaginatively rich feast that forms distinct worlds, these stories deliver a satisfying emotional punch.
Good Women by Halle Hill 9/12
Halle Hill’s debut, Good Women, immerses us in the lives of twelve Black women across the Appalachian South. Through intimate stories, we witness a woman’s bus journey to meet a sugar daddy’s mother, a state fair worker’s revenge plan, a sister’s guilt in aiding her brother’s secret relationship, and the struggles of a young woman navigating a for-profit college scam. Exploring the influences of place, trauma, ties, and boundaries, Hill’s darkly funny yet human collection shows the collision of small worlds and the transformative power of personal choices, presenting a must-read voice in literary fiction.
Peach Pit edited by Molly Llewellyn and Kristel Buckley 9/12
Featuring acclaimed authors like Lauren Groff and Deesha Philyaw, this anthology gathers fierce and daring women in sixteen stories. From a middle-aged Black woman seeking revenge on lackluster dates to a young woman drawn to a scam caller, the tales reveal women as con artists, murderers, and scalpers driven by ambition, grief, and revenge. These stories are for those who’ve had enough of playing nice.
Never Whistle at Night: An Indigenous Dark Fiction Anthology edited by Shane Hawk 9/19
Indigenous beliefs caution against night whistling, with unique stories across cultures. For instance, Hawaiians summon ancient warriors’ spirits, Mexicans fear a witch-owl transformation. Yet, the common thread is the invitation of malevolent spirits—potentially even to one’s home. These original, spine-tingling stories unveil ghosts, curses, hauntings, monsters, family legacies, and chilling revenge. Introduced by Stephen Graham Jones, they honor Indigenous survival and creativity, inviting readers to revel in the eerie allure a misguided whistle might invoke.
This Is Salvaged: Stories by Vauhini Vara 9/26
Selected by Literary Hub as a highly anticipated book, as well as Bustle‘s Best Book of Fall 2023, This Is Salvaged by Vauhini Vara dives into the bounds of intimacy with otherworldly elegance. Vara explores the intricate dynamics between various relationships – parent, friend, sibling, and more – in the face of estrangement and turbulence. The stories unveil a journey of connection and meaning, capturing characters’ endless search for communion amid life’s upheavals.
Small in Real Life: Stories by Kelly Sather 10/3
In Small in Real Life, the allure and complexities of Southern California are evoked, painting a picture of glamour, ambition, and hidden struggles. Within these nine stories, an alcoholic paparazzo observes a celebrity friend from a Malibu rehab, a struggling Hollywood hanger-on resorts to theft, and an LA judge confronts guilt. As power, fame, and love lead astray, characters face choices and seek belonging in unexpected places, providing an insider’s look at California’s glittering promises of redemption.
Out There Screaming: An Anthology of New Black Horror edited by Jordan Peele 10/3
From the visionary creator behind Get Out, Us, and Nope, as well as the founder of Monkeypaw Productions, comes an innovative anthology of fresh Black horror tales. Beyond supernatural scares, these stories delve into the unsettling reality of injustice haunting our nation. Out There Screaming, curated by Jordan Peele, takes readers on journeys where a cop encounters blinking eyes guiding stops, freedom riders confront eerie encounters, and a young girl battles demons underground. With a star-studded lineup and an introduction by Peele, this collection redefines fear and offers a masterclass in horror.
The Hive and the Honey: Stories by Paul Yoon 10/10
Award-winning author Paul Yoon presents a remarkable collection of stories delving into themes of identity, belonging, and cultural intersections. Amid narratives like a boy’s search for his father, a woman spying on a possible estranged son, a samurai’s journey, and a man rebuilding his life post-incarceration, The Hive and the Honey intricately explores diasporic complexities. Yoon’s powerful narratives reveal beauty and cruelty, making this collection an indelible testament to his storytelling abilities.
Too Scared to Sleep by Andrew Duplessie 10/10
Debut author Andrew Duplessie delivers spine-chilling teen horror stories, matched with eerie videos for added fright. From a flesh-eating garbage disposal to sinister stuffed animals and bloodthirsty roses, these tales cater to every fear. And here’s the twist: each story is accompanied by a pulse-pounding video accessed via QR code. Brace yourself for Too Scared to Sleep, a collection that dares to test your bravery.
Roman Stories by Jhumpa Lahiri 10/10
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri presents her debut short story collection, where the metropolis of Rome takes center stage, shaping nine stories that transcend time. From a caretaker’s daughter with an immigrant past, to a couple navigating new dynamics at yearly parties, and residents of different backgrounds sharing a public staircase, these tales capture the complexities of Rome’s social fabric. Lahiri crafts these stories in her adopted Italian language, skillfully translated by herself and editor Todd Portnowitz.
Lavender Speculation by Jamie Zaccaria 10/17
Brave souls are invited to embark on a journey through these spine-tingling tales, venturing from contemporary New Jersey to enchanted realms and back. Queer women stand at the heart of this anthology, dominating popular subgenres from witches to werecats, spirits to surgeries. Melding horror, dark fantasy, and magical realism, this collection weaves a captivating tapestry of the eerie and unconventional.
Jewel Box: Stories by E. Lily Yu – Oct 24
A hefty collection of 22 stories introduces both the astonishing: a hive of bees that falls to the ground, unfurling in an intricate map. The otherworldly: an impartial judge suddenly questioned by a powerful god. Stories that question what it means to be human in an imperfect, infuriating, and undeniably beautiful existence, Yu, winner of the Astounding Award for Best New Writer, invites readers on a journey of the strange and the sublime.
When We Become Ours: A YA Adoptee Anthology by Nicole Chung (et al) 10/24
Diverse and impactful, this teen anthology edited by Shannon Gibney and Nicole Chung recognizes the uniqueness of every adoptee’s journey. With contributions from fifteen authors, the collection portrays the multifaceted experiences of adoptees, offering authentic perspectives on the complexity of their lives. In a groundbreaking approach, these stories, crafted by adoptees themselves, reclaim and center their own narratives, providing an invaluable insight into growing up with adoption.
Christmas and Other Horrors: An Anthology of Solstice Horror edited by Ellen Datlow 10/24
Editor and horror icon Ellen Datlow delivers a bone-chilling anthology of original short stories, exploring the eerie facets of global winter solstice traditions. Authors including Tananarive Due, Stephen Graham Jones, and Alma Katsu contribute to this collection, unearthing the sinister undertones that coexist with the joy of the season. As families gather for festivities, these stories delve into the dark, dangerous, and horrifying aspects of this time, uncovering the unholy and the eerie from cultures worldwide, including those of India, Iran, East Asia, Scandinavia, and more.
Night Side of the River by Jeanette Winterson 10/24
Jeanette Winterson’s captivating collection dives into the eerie, merging her own supernatural experiences with spine-tingling, futuristic tales that remind us of Black Mirror. From a haunting estate to a ghost tour gone wrong, a séance blurring AI and reality, and a metaverse vacation intersecting with the deceased, Winterson’s work deftly explores the connection between the living and the dead, spinning themes of grief, revenge, and technology’s impact on the boundary between life and death.
At Night He Lifts Weights by Kang Young-Sook 11/19
In a disconcerting suburban backdrop, an artist obsesses over her double amidst a disease outbreak. A series of murders arouses suspicion in an elderly woman towards a strongman at the local park. Meanwhile, a radiation-exposed woman inherits a storage warehouse for city escapees. Amidst this calm facade, Kang Young-sook’s stories reveal a society struggling with ecological upheaval and loss.