We’re more than halfway through 2019, and it’s been a great year for short story collections so far! If you’re interested in checking out some of the best short stories from the first half of the year, look no further. Here are six of the most exciting new collections from the first six months of 2019.
Bryan Washington’s collection of stories won numerous accolades when it was released earlier this year, and it’s easy to see why. These stories are set in Houston and follow the daily life of a boy on the cusp of adulthood as he navigates the city that he lives in and contemplates the nuances of his own identity. Readers will also meet a large supporting cast of characters who are making lives for themselves in Houston. This vibrant book will show you an American city in all of its complexity.
Kristen Roupenian is the author of “Cat Person,” the short story that was published in The New Yorker in 2017 and captured the country’s attention. In You Know You Want This, Roupenian expands on some of the same themes: consent, power, and relationships. These stories are dark, thought-provoking, and memorable. You can also check out Bookish’s interview with Roupenian here.
Home Remedies is Xuan Juliana Wang’s debut collection. In one story, a young woman in Paris begins wearing the fashionable clothes of a suicide victim and finds herself thrust into the spotlight. In another, two divers who hope to compete in the Olympics evaluate their careers and their relationship. Wang’s nuanced and lifelike characters leap off of the page.
Sing to It by Amy Hempel
Amy Hempel fans had to wait a long time for Sing to It: Hempel’s prior book came out more than a decade earlier. That said, we know you’ll feel that Sing to It was worth the wait. There are 15 stories in this collection and they encompass the pain of knowing dogs at a shelter will be euthanized, the agonizing decision to put a child up for adoption, and the temptation of revenge. These insightful stories will stick with you long after you’ve finished reading.
Kali Fajardo-Anstine transports readers to Colorado in these 11 stories about Latina and indigenous women navigating their lives in the American West. In a starred review, Kirkus raved: “The result is a nearly perfect collection of stories that is emotionally wrenching but never without glimmers of resistance and hope.” These stories are laced with pain and resilience, guaranteeing that readers won’t soon forget Fajardo-Anstine’s characters and their stories.
Instructions for a Funeral by David Means
Earlier this year we named Instructions for a Funeral one of the spring’s must-reads, so you know we’re excited about it. In this collection, David Means writes about a murderous nurse, a man who is considering leaving instructions for his own funeral, and the challenges and joys of being a father. These stories are witty, affecting, and sure to please Means’ longtime fans and his newest readers.