There’s a reason why English, Literature, and Creative Writing majors in college are all required to read at least some of the stories in the collections shwn here: they’re classics of literature, and of the short story form. They became classics not only because of the authors’ mastery of the storyteller’s art and the short story form, but also because they speak to, reflect and illuminate the human condition.
So instead of picking up that Grey novel, espionage thriller or something with vampires or brawny cattle rustlers for your next summer read, why not get one or more of these collections and see for yourself what great literature is all about? None of these are bargain priced, but considering the number of stories in each, each one is still a good buy.
The Stories of John Cheever (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $13.99)
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
When The Stories of John Cheever was originally published, it became an immediate national bestseller and won the Pulitzer Prize. In the years since, it has become a classic. Vintage Books is proud to reintroduce this magnificent collection.
Here are sixty-one stories that chronicle the lives of what has been called “the greatest generation.” From the early wonder and disillusionment of city life in “The Enormous Radio” to the surprising discoveries and common mysteries of suburbia in “The Housebreaker of Shady Hill” and “The Swimmer,” Cheever tells us everything we need to know about “the pain and sweetness of life.”
Collected Stories of William Faulkner (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $12.99)
“I’m a failed poet. Maybe every novelist wants to write poetry first, finds he can’t and then tries the short story which is the most demanding form after poetry. And failing that, only then does he take up novel writing.” —William Faulkner
Winner of the National Book Award
Forty-two stories make up this magisterial collection by the writer who stands at the pinnacle of modern American fiction. Compressing an epic expanse of vision into hard and wounding narratives, Faulkner’s stories evoke the intimate textures of place, the deep strata of history and legend, and all the fear, brutality, and tenderness of the human condition. These tales are set not only in Yoknapatawpha County, but in Beverly Hills and in France during World War I. They are populated by such characters as the Faulknerian archetypes Flem Snopes and Quentin Compson, as well as by ordinary men and women who emerge so sharply and indelibly in these pages that they dwarf the protagonists of most novels.
The Complete Stories of Franz Kafka (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $12.99)
The Complete Stories brings together all of Kafka’s stories, from the classic tales such as “The Metamorphosis,” “In the Penal Colony,” and “A Hunger Artist” to shorter pieces and fragments that Max Brod, Kafka’s literary executor, released after Kafka’s death. With the exception of his three novels, the whole of Kafka’s narrative work is included in this volume.
This is a massive, and complete, collection of Kafka’s body of work.
The Early Stories of John Updike: 1953-1975 (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $15.99)
Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
A harvest and not a winnowing, this volume collects 103 stories, almost all of the short fiction that John Updike wrote between 1953 and 1975. “How rarely it can be said of any of our great American writers that they have been equally gifted in both long and short forms,” reads the citation composed for John Updike upon his winning the 2006 Rea Award for the Short Story. “Contemplating John Updike’s monumental achievement in the short story, one is moved to think of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Ernest Hemingway, and perhaps William Faulkner—writers whose reputations would be as considerable, or nearly, if short stories had been all that they had written. From [his] remarkable early short story collections . . . through his beautifully nuanced stories of family life [and] the bittersweet humors of middle age and beyond . . . John Updike has created a body of work in the notoriously difficult form of the short story to set beside those of these distinguished American predecessors. Congratulations and heartfelt thanks are due to John Updike for having brought such pleasure and such illumination to so many readers for so many years.”
The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $8.89)
Winner of the National Book Award
The publication of this extraordinary volume firmly established Flannery O’Connor’s monumental contribution to American fiction. There are thirty-one stories here in all, including twelve that do not appear in the only two story collections O’Connor put together in her short lifetime–Everything That Rises Must Converge and A Good Man Is Hard to Find.
O’Connor published her first story, “The Geranium,” in 1946, while she was working on her master’s degree at the University of Iowa. Arranged chronologically, this collection shows that her last story, “Judgement Day”–sent to her publisher shortly before her death—is a brilliantly rewritten and transfigured version of “The Geranium.” Taken together, these stories reveal a lively, penetrating talent that has given us some of the most powerful and disturbing fiction of the twentieth century. Also included is an introduction by O’Connor’s longtime editor and friend, Robert Giroux.
The Complete Short Stories Of Ernest Hemingway: The Finca Vigia Edition (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $13.63)
THE ONLY COMPLETE COLLECTION BY THE NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING AUTHOR
In this definitive collection of Ernest Hemingway’s short stories (sixty stories in all), readers will delight in the author’s most beloved classics such as “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” “Hills Like White Elephants,” and “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” and will discover seven new tales published for the first time in this collection. For Hemingway fans The Complete Short Stories is an invaluable treasury.
The Complete Stories of Bernard Malamud (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $8.89)
“Malamud, who died in 1986, is perhaps better known for his novels (e.g., The Natural; The Fixer) than for his short stories, though these he published abundantly in collections over the years (e.g., The Stories of Bernard Malamud, 1983). Giroux, Malamud’s longtime editor, publisher, and friend, who put together this evident labor of love, quotes Flannery O’Connor on Malamud: “I have discovered a short-story writer who is better than any of them, including myself.” ”
– Library Journal
New York Times Notable Book of the Year
Publishers Weekly Best Book of 1997
With an Introduction by Robert Giroux, The Complete Stories of Bernard Malamud is “an essential American book,” Richard Stern declared in the Chicago Tribune when the collection was published in hardcover. His praise was echoed by other reviewers and by readers, who embraced the book as they might a displaced person in one of Malamud’s stories, now returned to us, complete and fulfilled and recognized at last. The volume gathers together fifty-five stories, from “Armistice” (1940) to “Alma Redeemed” (1984), and including the immortal stories from The Magic Barrel and the vivid depictions of the unforgettable Fidelman. It is a varied and generous collection of great examples of the modern short story, which Malamud perfected, and an ideal introduction to the work of this great American writer.