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8 Awesome Short Story Collections Publishing This Month

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8 Awesome Short Story Collections Publishing This Month

8 Awesome Short Story Collections Publishing This Month

We ❤️ short stories! There’s nothing better than a pared-down narrative that packs a punch. Here are our recommendations of the best short story collections publishing this month.

If you’d like to purchase any of these books, we’d highly recommend seeking out your local independent bookstore. Your business helps ensure the survival of these vital cultural institutions during this difficult time.

1. Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel W. Moniz

Available February 2, 2021

Cover Art for Milk, Blood, Heat
Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel W. Moniz (Grove Press)

A livewire debut from Dantiel W. Moniz, one of the most exciting discoveries in today’s literary landscape, Milk Blood Heat depicts the sultry lives of Floridians in intergenerational tales that contemplate human connection, race, womanhood, inheritance, and the elemental darkness in us all. Set among the cities and suburbs of Florida, each story delves into the ordinary worlds of young girls, women, and men who find themselves confronted by extraordinary moments of violent personal reckoning. These intimate portraits of people and relationships scour and soothe and blast a light on the nature of family, faith, forgiveness, consumption, and what we may, or may not, owe one another.

2. Prayer for the Living by Ben Okri

Available February 2, 2021

Cover Art for Prayer for the Living
Prayer for the Living by Ben Okri (Akashic Books)

Topical and timely, Booker Prize–winning author Ben Okri’s new collection of short stories blurs parallel realities and walks the line between darkness and magic.

Playful, frightening, shocking–these stories from a writer at the height of his power will make you think, or make you laugh. Sometimes they’ll make you want to look away, but they will always hold your gaze.

These are stories set in London, in Byzantium, in the ghetto, in the Andes, and in a printer’s shop in Lagos. Characters include a murderer, a writer, a detective, a woman in a dream, a man in a mirror, a little girl, a prison door, and the author himself.

3. Rabbit Island by Elvira Navarro

Available February 9, 2021

Cover Art for Rabbit Island
Rabbit Island by Elvira Navarro (Two Lines Press)

Combining the gritty surrealism of David Lynch with the explosive interior meditations of Clarice Lispector, the stories in Elvira Navarro’s Rabbit Island traverse the fickle, often terrifying terrain between madness and freedom. In the title story, a so-called “non-inventor” conducts an experiment on an island inhabited exclusively by birds and is horrified by what the results portend. “Myotragus” bears witness to a man of privilege’s understanding of the world being violently disrupted by the sight of a creature long thought extinct. Elsewhere, an unsightly “paw” grows from a writer’s earlobe; an obese grandmother floats silently in the corner of a room.

4. Trout, Belly Up by Rodrigo Fuentes

Available February 2, 2021

Cover Art for Trout, Belly Up
Trout, Belly Up by Rodrigo Fuentes (Charco Press)

In seven interconnected short stories, the Guatemalan countryside is ever-present: a place of timeless peace and the site of sudden violence. Don Henrik, a good man struck time and again by misfortune, confronts the crude realities of farming life, family obligation, and the intrusions of merciless entrepreneurs, hitmen, drug dealers, and fallen angels, all wanting their piece of the pie. Told with precision and stark beauty, Trout, Belly Up is a beguiling, disturbing ensemble of moments set in the heart of a rural landscape in a country where brutality is never far from the surface.

5. Sea Loves Me by Mia Couto

Available February 23, 2021

Cover Art for Sea Loves Me
Sea Loves Me by Mia Couto (Biblioasis)

Known internationally for his novels, Neustadt Prize-winner Mia Couto first became famous for his short stories. Sea Loves Me includes sixty-four of his best, thirty-six of which appear in English for the first time. Covering the entire arc of Couto’s career, this collection displays the Mozambican author’s inventiveness, sensitivity, and social range with greater richness than any previous collection—from early stories that reflect the harshness of life under Portuguese colonialism; to magical tales of rural Africa; to contemporary fables of the fluidity of race and gender, environmental disaster, and the clash between the countryside and the city. The title novella, long acclaimed as one of Couto’s best works but never before available in English, caps this collection with the lyrical story of a search for a lost father that leads unexpectedly to love.

6. Come On Up by Jordi Nopca

Available February 9, 2021

Cover Art for Come On Up
Come On Up by Jordi Nopca (Bellevue Literary Press)

What happens when the hopes of a generation are dashed by austerity policies and underemployment? Come On Up is a group portrait of contemporary Barcelona, beaten by the economic crisis and divided by a secessionist movement. Always witty, often absurdist, these stories offer a mesmerizing glimpse into the daily lives of couples, families, and neighbors living the new normal of the 21st century.

A husband seeks revenge on his wife as they stalk author Peter Stamm; an out-of-work bartender fills his empty days by shoving bananas into the tailpipes of parked cars; a mysterious ritual, spied through a neighbor’s window, arouses deadly spirits. Masterfully paced, the eleven mordant stories of Come On Up draw us into an embattled world whose past is unresolved and whose future is uncertain.

7. Stoop City by Kristyn Dunnion

Available February 2, 2021

Cover Art for Stoop City
Stoop City by Kristyn Dunnion (Biblioasis)

Welcome to Stoop City, where your neighbors include a condo-destroying cat, a teen queen beset by Catholic guilt, and an emergency clinic staffed entirely by lovelorn skeptics. Couples counseling with Marzana, her girlfriend’s ghost, might not be enough to resolve past indiscretions; our heroine could need a death goddess ritual or two. Plus, Hoofy’s not sure if his missing scam-artist boyfriend was picked up by the cops, or by that pretty blonde, their last mark. When Jan takes a room at Plague House, her first year of university takes an unexpected turn—into anarcho-politics and direct action, gender studies, and late-night shenanigans with Saffy, her captivating yet cagey housemate.

8. Arriving in a Thick Fog by Jung Young Moon

Available February 23, 2021

Cover Art for Arriving in a Thick Fog
Arriving in a Thick Fog by Jung Young Moon (Deep Vellum)

The four novellas in Arriving in a Thick Fog typify renowned Korean cult writer Jung Young Moon’s emphasis not on events, but on the meticulous and convoluted paths the narrator’s minds take as they navigate through life. Through a deep, filterless gaze into the narrator’s heads, Jung shares thorough musings that manage to be both spontaneous and complex. Arriving in a Thick Fog takes the reader on a discombobulating yet captivating stroll. Like “a person looking for a path that stretches forever in the wrong direction,” the reader traces the steps of one who is walking endlessly toward a false destination, through a maze of layered stories.

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