Looking for short stories.
September 29, 2007 11:16 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to read some short story collections that have the same feel as movies like "Lost in Translation" and "The Station Agent." I guess "introspective" is the key word. All recommendations will be much appreciated.
posted by davebush to Writing & Language (17 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I have to recommend the works of Charlotte Perkins Gilman ("The Yellow Wallpaper," among others) and Dorothy Parker.

For Gilman, I'd recommend this collection, which has her most important shorts but not the novella "Herland," which I personally believe is not her best work. She was a magnificent short story writer, though.

For Parker, you can't go wrong with The Portable Dorothy Parker, which has many great short stories, a few essays, and some poetry. (Her poetry is not my favorite, but her short stories are very moody and introspective. Very lonely, almost hopeless in some ways.)

What I've recommended mostly focuses on the experiences of women, and particularly the experiences of women in bygone eras. But it's good stuff regardless of the subject matter.
posted by brina at 11:37 AM on September 29, 2007

You might enjoy Andre Dubus. Not to be confused with Andres Dubus III, although he is good too. Selected stories may be a good place to start. I have this collection and found it very entertaining. Others.

A few of his stories and novellas have been adapted into movies, In the Bedroom and We Don't Live Here Anymore. I list these movies only to give you a feel of some of his subject matter.
posted by LoriFLA at 11:47 AM on September 29, 2007

Graham Greene comes immediately to mind. Gosh I like Graham Greene. I've only read his novels, that I can recall, but he did write short stories if that's what you're after.
posted by mumkin at 12:33 PM on September 29, 2007

Where I'm Calling From by Raymond Carver and Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson are both really excellent, and have that introspective feeling to them...
posted by hwickline at 12:52 PM on September 29, 2007

I recently stumbled on Barry Holstun Lopez, and while I've only read Winter Count, the stories leave me the same kind of wistful as Raymond Carver does.
posted by lauranesson at 1:48 PM on September 29, 2007

i'm not exactly sure why but the wind-up bird chronicle reminds me of lost in translation. it is not a short story but the short story version can be found in murakami's the elephant vanishes.
posted by phil at 2:29 PM on September 29, 2007

Short stories by:

Shirley Jackson - 'The Lottery' is her most widely read story but she wrote others that are as good or better. Most of them involve characters that are struggling to fit into society.

Patricia Highsmith - Her stories are twisted and suspenseful.

W. Somerset Maugham - His best stories are the ones taking place in the South Seas.
posted by Soda-Da at 2:31 PM on September 29, 2007

I would say Lorrie Moore fits this bill nicely. I reread her book "Birds of America" at least once a year.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 2:36 PM on September 29, 2007

Haruki Murakami! He's wonderful, has both short stories and longer novels.
posted by GaelFC at 2:41 PM on September 29, 2007

Less than 200 miles from you davebush, is the birthplace of Alice Munro, widely considered one of the world's finest writers of short stories.
posted by Neiltupper at 4:19 PM on September 29, 2007

Second Andre Dubus, and most, most, most definitely second Alice Munro. She is the best writer of her genre. Period.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:20 PM on September 29, 2007

Interpretor of Maladies is a collection of somewhat-introspective stories starring people who are dealing with life as outsiders in strange new environments (much like "Lost in Translation").
posted by Brittanie at 6:40 PM on September 29, 2007

Second Lorrie Moore and I'll add Alf MacLochlainn's The Corpus in the Library for that strange detached feeling that both of the movies you mention also have.
posted by rmless at 6:42 PM on September 29, 2007

After Dark by (the aforementioned) Haruki Murakami would fit the bill nicely.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 8:29 PM on September 29, 2007

I'd recommend Tatyana Tolstaya's short stories. I've been recommending them to everyone who'll listen, lately. Very Russian, sort of got the same lonely, strange, existential feeling as the movies you mentioned. Oh, and agreed with others on Lorrie Moore and Haruki Murakami, they're both great.
posted by ITheCosmos at 8:55 PM on September 29, 2007

You might try Safety of Objects by AM Homes. It is suburbanite introspective.

And I nth the Murakami collection The Elephant Vanishes but to get to the truly introspective by him you must read South of the Border, West of the Sun. It is semi-autobiographical so there is a lot of looking back by the narrator over his life decisions. It's also more novella sized.
posted by M Edward at 12:15 AM on September 30, 2007


nthing Haruki Murakami!
Especially "On seeing the 100% perfect girl one beautiful April morning"

It's so good that I demand you read it right now:

Linky goodness
posted by carpyful at 10:28 PM on September 30, 2007

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