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The Guardian Review Book of Short Stories

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Freebie from the Guardian, 10 previously unpublished stories. Alice Munro, mistress of the short form, describes a story as "a world seen in a quick glancing light". From caves in Pakistan to the underground tunnels of London's Piccadilly line, each of the stories collected here takes the reader into a very different world. And just as they roam across the globe, so they tr Freebie from the Guardian, 10 previously unpublished stories. Alice Munro, mistress of the short form, describes a story as "a world seen in a quick glancing light". From caves in Pakistan to the underground tunnels of London's Piccadilly line, each of the stories collected here takes the reader into a very different world. And just as they roam across the globe, so they travel in time, from postwar London to contemporary Lagos. From a historical vignette about a 19th-century German artist, to a fable in which a book comes to life in a Chicago library, these stories explore the boundaries of imagined realities. The narrators include dogs and children. Love affairs begin and end, friendships splinter and rekindle, mothers and children learn to let each other go. Whether it is the recent revolutionary uprisings in Egypt and Libya or one woman's lone battle with her electricity company on the south coast of England, they deal with battles big and small. Everyday triumphs and tragedies are briefly illuminated, the secret places of relationships laid bare. Melancholy or mischievous, elegant or experimental – together these tales showcase the variety and vibrancy of the modern short story. The dwindling media outlets for new short fiction is frequently lamented, so we are especially proud to be able to offer a whole book of previously unpublished stories by some of the best writers working today. It is a great honour to begin the collection with a specially commissioned story by William Trevor, often cited as the world's greatest living short-story writer. He joins many celebrated names to mark the culmination of the Guardian's Book Season.


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Freebie from the Guardian, 10 previously unpublished stories. Alice Munro, mistress of the short form, describes a story as "a world seen in a quick glancing light". From caves in Pakistan to the underground tunnels of London's Piccadilly line, each of the stories collected here takes the reader into a very different world. And just as they roam across the globe, so they tr Freebie from the Guardian, 10 previously unpublished stories. Alice Munro, mistress of the short form, describes a story as "a world seen in a quick glancing light". From caves in Pakistan to the underground tunnels of London's Piccadilly line, each of the stories collected here takes the reader into a very different world. And just as they roam across the globe, so they travel in time, from postwar London to contemporary Lagos. From a historical vignette about a 19th-century German artist, to a fable in which a book comes to life in a Chicago library, these stories explore the boundaries of imagined realities. The narrators include dogs and children. Love affairs begin and end, friendships splinter and rekindle, mothers and children learn to let each other go. Whether it is the recent revolutionary uprisings in Egypt and Libya or one woman's lone battle with her electricity company on the south coast of England, they deal with battles big and small. Everyday triumphs and tragedies are briefly illuminated, the secret places of relationships laid bare. Melancholy or mischievous, elegant or experimental – together these tales showcase the variety and vibrancy of the modern short story. The dwindling media outlets for new short fiction is frequently lamented, so we are especially proud to be able to offer a whole book of previously unpublished stories by some of the best writers working today. It is a great honour to begin the collection with a specially commissioned story by William Trevor, often cited as the world's greatest living short-story writer. He joins many celebrated names to mark the culmination of the Guardian's Book Season.

30 review for The Guardian Review Book of Short Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ollie

    This collection of short stories came as a free souvenir with the Guardian at the start of November 2011. Considering the calibre of authors included - Margaret Atwood, Rose Tremain, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - it's a surprisingly poor collection. The distinct feeling from the get go is that these are cast away stories the authors drudged up to let the Guardian use - the kind they would never dare use in a collection of their own. The one exception is Audrey Niffenegger's surrealist masterpiece M This collection of short stories came as a free souvenir with the Guardian at the start of November 2011. Considering the calibre of authors included - Margaret Atwood, Rose Tremain, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - it's a surprisingly poor collection. The distinct feeling from the get go is that these are cast away stories the authors drudged up to let the Guardian use - the kind they would never dare use in a collection of their own. The one exception is Audrey Niffenegger's surrealist masterpiece Moths of the New World, which made me want to read more of her stuff (though I already knew she was awesome, based on the talk she gave on time traveling at the British Library earlier this year.) William Trevor, apparently the greatest living short story writer, opens the collection with the weakest story of the lot - a sentimental half-baked thing called An Idyll in Winter. Most of the authors in this collection are also part of the Guardian's upcoming creative writing master classes, but I'm sure that's just coincidental...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Quanti

    Wasn't really worth the time spent (although read mostly in the bathroom ;)) - the only good one was Moths of the New World, as it turns out, from Audrey Niffenegger, author of Time Traveller's Wife. I was interested in watching the movie some time, but considering circumstances, I'll probably go for the book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Betheliza

    This is a good and varied short story book for reading in the bath. There are a couple of stories which I would read again and again such as The Man Who Fell by Polly Samson - a simple tale whch stays with me long after I've read it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Simon

    Absolute blinder in here from William Trevor!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    I very much enjoyed AudreyNiffenegger's 'Moths Of The New World', and moved on from this to her novels.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Maura Heaphy Dutton

    For a slim volume that was given away free with a newspaper, this has an impressive number of "winners". My personal favourites are Audrey Niffenegger's "Moths of the New World," a touching take on a very different Afterlife, that just begs for longer development. Polly Samson's "The Man who Fell," a nicely structured story about life changing moments across generations. Margaret Drabble's "Trespassing," a beautifully written story of a woman who finally fully understands the threats to her world. For a slim volume that was given away free with a newspaper, this has an impressive number of "winners". My personal favourites are Audrey Niffenegger's "Moths of the New World," a touching take on a very different Afterlife, that just begs for longer development. Polly Samson's "The Man who Fell," a nicely structured story about life changing moments across generations. Margaret Drabble's "Trespassing," a beautifully written story of a woman who finally fully understands the threats to her world. Gorgeous language. Other stories by authors such as William Trevor and Margaret Atwood are, not surprisingly, very good, but just didn't grab me. But this is a very well-stocked little anthology, if you can score a copy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jailan El-Rafie

    This is a great collection of short stories. Very diverse in genre and writing styles. Was a fun and quick read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Some little gems here, particularly those by William Trevor and Rachel Cusk. There was only one which I thought didn't work at all, by Mohsin Hamid, who wrote 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist'. All the others had some glitter and resonance. I'm glad this is a small collection; I find too many short stories together take away from each other. The reader has to adjust to a change of style and world view with each story. The delicate magic of a good short story is easily brushed aside by the completely Some little gems here, particularly those by William Trevor and Rachel Cusk. There was only one which I thought didn't work at all, by Mohsin Hamid, who wrote 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist'. All the others had some glitter and resonance. I'm glad this is a small collection; I find too many short stories together take away from each other. The reader has to adjust to a change of style and world view with each story. The delicate magic of a good short story is easily brushed aside by the completely different world of the next.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn

    This was a freebie with The Guardian weekend newspaper which came out recently. A good mix of contemporary short stories covering a range of genres which have elements of politics, history, romance, religion, current affairs, the environment, science-fiction etc. I mainly picked it up because Margaret Atwood had contributed a story to this collection (entitled 'Underbrush Man'), and particularly enjoyed Audrey Niffenegger's 'Moths Of The New World' and Rose Tremain's 'The Closing Door'.

  10. 5 out of 5

    John

    Very varied stories. I really liked the ones by William Trevor (An Idyll in Winter) and Rose Tremain. Had not previously read anything by William Trevor and want to try one of his novels now. I already love Rose Tremain. The Audrey Niffenegger story was a bit weird. It didn't do it for me, but others seem to like it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alan Fricker

    A mixed bag

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    Just strange!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Flora

    Some stories were great, some were weird.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tatyana

    Loved Audrey Niffengger

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    Underwhelming. A few good stories but many duds.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kate M

    This is more a 4.5 stars, based on Niffenegger’s “Moths of the New World” all alone, but what a great little volume of shorts! Diverse authors, diverse stories, and all good. Seriously though, read Audrey Niffennegger’s short; it was surprising, magical, and romantic (not in a lovey kissy way but in the broader sense). It made me smile for days, and every time I look at this book I smile because of it, I’ve reread it multiple times.)_ I have to thank Maura for sending this along to me, as it was l This is more a 4.5 stars, based on Niffenegger’s “Moths of the New World” all alone, but what a great little volume of shorts! Diverse authors, diverse stories, and all good. Seriously though, read Audrey Niffennegger’s short; it was surprising, magical, and romantic (not in a lovey kissy way but in the broader sense). It made me smile for days, and every time I look at this book I smile because of it, I’ve reread it multiple times.)_ I have to thank Maura for sending this along to me, as it was lovely and I enjoyed and was engaged in all of these stories. Multiple authors whom I love, like Adichie and Niffenengger, and those who were new to me alike.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Corinne

    Only read: Moths of the New World by Audrey Niffenegger (2011), a short story available here: https://www.theguardian.com/books/201... "An illustrated reference book about moths wakes to find herself in a strange apartment." So unique, I can't explain it. Some other user reviews do a good job. I look forward to the full book of the world this short story is from. Only read: Moths of the New World by Audrey Niffenegger (2011), a short story available here: https://www.theguardian.com/books/201... "An illustrated reference book about moths wakes to find herself in a strange apartment." So unique, I can't explain it. Some other user reviews do a good job. I look forward to the full book of the world this short story is from.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Robert Bagnall

    A curate's egg, as is usual with these things. In amongst the dross (Cusk and Samson, I'm looking at you), there are some gems (Niffenegger, in particular; Drabble and Atwood good as well). The new piece by William Trevor is a bit of a non-event - I can't decide whether it's oddly written or badly proofed ("A loss that is unbearable does now, the bitterness of a quiet wife". Oh, hold on, it's The Guardian).

  19. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    This story collection is a nice quick read. I liked some stories more than others, but the ones I did like made it worth reading. Features stories from some classic writers like Margaret Atwood.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ewa Gajer

  22. 5 out of 5

    Weng Cahiles

  23. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

  24. 4 out of 5

    Julia Walsh

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ania

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ciara

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ivan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  29. 5 out of 5

    Natasha Barnes

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andrée

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