There are a few reasons why I desperately enjoy short fiction. On one hand, when you work 40 hours a week in an office and have a family, your time allows for shorter pieces more than full-length novels. I find myself perusing short stories at work (shh, don’t tell) and while scrolling through my phone after a long day.
There’s a difference in plot and characters between short stories and novels. I wouldn’t argue that one is better than the other. However, it’s admirable when a writer is able to captivate your attention and make you care for a group of characters in spaces as small as one page but not usually more than twenty-five pages.
Two stories that I keep coming back to recently were both published in The Offing. They are “One Hundred and Twenty Muscles” by Rachel Heng and “Are They Vampires, or Are They Just Chinese?” by C Pam Zhang. Both have elements of violence that are depicted in a riveting fashion. Heng’s story carries a more graphic scene of violence but it’s not off-putting and helps set the story.
Lately, I’ve been more interested in speculative fiction and fiction written by women. Always open to recommendations.