Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Rise of the Short Story

According to Taylor Antrim at The Daily Beast , "The short story seems to be having, in its typically quiet way, a bit of a moment." It appears the recent success of collections from Jhumpha Lahiri, Mary Gaitskill, Antonya Nelson and others is running against commonly held publishing wisdom that the short story collection is unable to hold its own up against the mightly novel. Could this be the beginning of a short story revolution? I'm not sure why publishers must be forever comparing the two, novels and short story collections. It's like comparing beef with pork- both are nice and each provide different needs.

Crossing fingers this is the beginning of something exciting!

4 comments:

Selma said...

This is really good news. Viva la short story!!

Tania Hershman said...

Hmm, to me this is a bit like saying Margaret Thatcher heralded a new era for women in politics... no, she didn't! It's the big names who are getting the sales, because they are big names. Nothing's changed, to my mind. Short story collections are still deemed "a risk" by mainstream publishers. Thank goodness for the non-risk-averse small presses, and for those of us who know where to look there is a treasure trove of short fiction. No more comparisons with novels, it is ridiculous and it's caused all this mess and fuss in the first place!

Lauri Kubuitsile said...

Tania don't you hope that it is changing?

Tania Hershman said...

god, yes, I hope it's changing, but I just don't want anyone to get the wrong idea from Juhmpa Lahiri's success, etc... When I finally stop hearing writers saying "My publisher will publish my short story collection if I write a novel first", then I'll know something's changing. When I see short story collections on Oprah and in the book review pages of national newspapers, when I see short story writers interviewed on chat shows, then I'll know. Sorry, I don't mean to be negative, you know I champion the short story, but I don't believe it pays to be unrealistic!