Short Stories 4

Here are some more short stories that I’ve enjoyed reading and teaching.

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

When a mysterious winged man appears in a family’s backyard, the local people are shocked and confused. Is he an angel? Is he human? A classic example of magical realism, the story satirises religion and asks us to consider the difference between beliefs and reality.

Who Will Great You At Home by Lesley Nneka Arimah

Another work of magical realism, this story explores ideas of motherhood and the social pressures that accompany it.

Cathedral by Raymond Carver

A man is suspicious and jealous when an old friend of his wife comes to stay. Over the course of an evening, his prejudice is gradually replaced with empathy and his perspective changes.

Superman and Paula Brown’s New Snowsuit by Silvia Plath

This short story deals with ideas of loyalty and betrayal, focussing on how children often create scapegoats in order to avoid culpability. A young girl is blamed for pushing another girl and ruining her snowsuit. Plath explores how children blur the boundaries between fantasy and reality.

Then Later His Ghost by Sarah Hall

In a post acopalyptic world battered by 100mph winds and constant storms, a young boy ekes out a fragile existence. As he searches for a copy of The Tempest, he risks his life to help a woman.

The End of Something by Earnest Hemingway

Nick and Marjoe are on a fishing excursion. As they talk about their activity, it becomes clear that their relationship is crumbling.

The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate by Ted Chiang

Fuwaad ibn Abbas discovers a magical gate in a shop in medieval Baghdad. The shop owner tells him tales of how others have travelled through the portal to meet their future selves. Fuwaad learns that the man has another gate in Cairo that allows people to return to their past and travels there in order to undo an error he made twenty years earlier.

Mr Loveday’s Little Outing by Evelyn Waugh

Angela goes to visit her father, Lord Moping, who is a patient at an asylum. This short story is filled with dark humour and has a great twist at the end.

The Invisible by Jo Lloyd

In a rural Welsh village, Martha tells the other villagers that she has befriended an invisible family who live a luxurious life of wealth. Lloyd explores how people create fantasies in order to make life tolerable and her story delves into themes of class and inequality.

The Statement of Randolph Carter by H.P. Lovecraft

Carter tries to explain the horrific disappearance of his companion, the occultist Harley Warren. Carter recounts the unsettling tale of how they travelled to an ancient graveyard in search of a portal to the underworld.

A Good Man in Hard to Find by Flannery O’Conner

A family travel to Florida for their summer holidays when they hear of a serial killer called The Misfit. With a shocking ending, this story explores what it means to be good.

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