Recommended Short Fiction/ Novellas
- 5 Curations
- Oct 17, 2020
- #Novel #ShortStory
Another Russian, this time the contemporary cardiologist by day, writer by night Osipov. This is his only work available in English and the prose in translation is magnificent. Everything that is released by the NYRB imprint is fantastic though. All of the stories in this collection stay with you and they feature the kind of sharp observations, biting humour, and felt sense of irony and tragedy that you would expect from a Russian doctor. The successor then of Chekhov and Bulgakov.
by Maxim Osipov
A children’s book that every adult needs to read. This is the story of the Men in Grey, villains who infiltrate a Mediterranean city in order to con the unwitting citizens out of their time. The Men in a Grey dupe then into working harder and living joyless lives so that they might ‘save’time for the future while in reality they embezzle their time away. A powerful allegory about mortality and what truly makes for a good and meaningful life.
by Michael Ende
A novel about a man on his lunch break. That’s it. But the observations, the humour and the voice will make you see the ordinary anew. Which is exactly what great fiction is supposed to do. In my mind this is one of the all time great debut novels. There is nothing quite like it.
There are many more ‘worthier’ novellas and story collections I could mention here. But I simply think that Roald Dahl’s works for adults gets massively overlooked as it must live under the giant shadow of his books for children. Which are of course iconic and brilliant and essential. This collection deals with tales from Dahl’s experience as a fighter pilot. Bracing, pulse-quickening and extremely readable.
by Roald Dahl
The title says it all. This is a novella about a day in the life of a man in a Gulag, the first such story to be openly distributed in the Soviet Union. This is lean, powerful, humane and arguably features some of Solzhenitsyn’s tightest and most controlled prose. You can read it in a few hours. And you should.