THE BEST SHORT FICTION COLLECTIONSREAD BY ROSS JEFFERY IN 2017

Well 2017 has been a busy year for me writing, reading and reviewing a huge amount of books and a highlight or guilty pleasure of mine has been and shall always be that of the short story. I have read a vast list of short stories this year, five-hundred of them for our short story competition Exit Earth alone; but I also read some fabulous collections for reviewing purposes and also for pleasure.

So below are my picks of best short story collections and a couple of novellas that I have read this year, take a look, enjoy, discover and if you want to purchase them please do…they are awesome!

MAN V. NATURE

By Diane Cook

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Man Vs Nature is a wonderful collection of dystopian tales from the critically acclaimed author Diane Cook who we were very fortunate to work with during our publication of Exit Earth. This book covers a range of situations, emotions and fates a collection that needs to be read far and wide, every story is a knockout…pick up a copy now!

Man V. Nature is available from Oneworld Publications here

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AN ACCOUNT OF THE DECLINE OF THE GREAT AUK, ACCORDING TO ONE WHO SAW IT.

By Jessie Greengrass

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This is a fabulous collection of short stories from the powerhouse that is Jessie Greengrass. There are numerous stories within this collection that are punch you in the face fantastic – I reviewed the book here for STORGY take a look. I’d highly recommend grabbing a copy of this book before discovering her latest offering – ‘Sight’ being released by John Murray 22nd Feb 2018.

An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk… is available from John Murray Original here

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THE BURNING GROUND

By Adam O’Riordan

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This collection made it into my best books of the year and well, it’s back again for the best short story collections I read this year. I cant say anything bad about this collection so the best way to experience it is to purchase yourselves a copy and discover that Adam O’Riordan is as gifted with the short story as he is with poetry.

The Burning Ground is available from Bloomsbury Books here

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EXIT EARTH

By Various Authors

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Featuring a plethora of new talented writers, whilst also including established authors such as Michael Carey, James Miller, Toby Litt, Courttia Newland and David James Poissant. From Trumpocalypse to Brexit Britain, brick by brick the walls are closing in. But don’t despair. Bulldoze the borders. Conquer freedom not fear.

EXIT EARTH explores all life – past, present, or future – on, or off – this beautiful, yet fragile, world of ours. Final embraces beneath a sky of flames. Tears of joy aboard a sinking ship. Laughter in a lonely land. Dystopian or utopian, realist or fantasy, horror or sci-fi, EXIT EARTH is yours to conquer. – I may be a little biased but it really is a fabulous book full of content (artwork, interviews, afterwords and including an exclusive interview with Diane Cook author of Man Vs Nature).

Exit Earth is available at STORGY by clicking on the following link – purchasing through our website ensures all monies are poured back into publishing more fabulous books in the future – click here for the details.

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MAKE SOMETHING UP – STORIES YOU CAN’T UNREAD

By Chuck Palahniuk

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When I realised Chuck Palahniuk had a new collection of short stories out I literally ran to the book shop to purchase this book, but seeing as I have a lot of books to read this sat on my bookshelf for a very long time before I got around to reading it for pleasure. During time off after spinal surgery the last year, it was one of the first books I read whilst recovering; and I have to say it’s the first time I felt a little let down by Chuck, it felt a little too safe – there are some fabulous tales in there that push boundaries but a few fell well short of the mark. The ones that hit home, reminded me of his brilliance and make the collection worth the purchase, it’s not all killer as there are some filler stories in there too.

Make Something Up is available from Vintage here

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BURNT TONGUES

By Various Authors

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Purchased solely because it had Chucks name emblazoned on the cover. It’s a strong collection of transgressive fiction from a variety of great writers, if you like short stories I’d say its worth the money as there are some very interesting stories in there! If you like the writings of Sarah Hall, Chuck Palahniuk, Bret Easton Ellis, Hubert Selby Jrn and Anthony Burgess it’s a must.

Burnt Tongues is available from Titan Books here

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EIGHT GHOSTS

By Various Authors

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I had the pleasure of reviewing this for STORGY (review coming soon) and it was a delight. With such a great roster of writing talent this book was bound to be a great read and it didn’t let me down. My favourite story of the bunch was by the brilliant mind of Max Porter and if you were a fan of ‘Grief is a Thing with Feathers’ you should check it out others stories that were great included Kamila Shamsie and Sarah Perry – now that is some talent on show.

Eight Ghosts is available from September Publishing here

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KNOW YOUR PLACE : ESSAYS ON THE WORKING CLASS

By Various Authors

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This is one of my current reads that I am reading for pleasure but will most probably get around to reviewing for STORGY at some point. I am four stories (well essays) in and it’s fabulous. Another jewel in the crown of Dead Ink Books. Relevant, informative, easy to digest and hard hitting…everything an essay collection should be.

Know Your Place is available from Dead Ink Books here

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MADAME ZERO

By Sarah Hall

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A very unsettling collection, written by in my opinion one of the greatest modern day short story writers, it’s a collection that is strong from start to finish – I loved the short story Evie and found it distressingly brilliant and played on my mind long after reading. I’d recommend this collection to all short story fans and those who are writing short stories or have yet to discover Sarah Hall.

Madame Zero is available from Faber & Faber here

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THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE

By Mariana Enriquez

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This brilliant and diverse collection of short stories features themes of murder, urban legends, haunted houses, love, superstitions and much more. It’s a dark collection that are set in the dark underbelly of Argentina; with Mariana Enriquez helping to open our eyes and educate us on the many aspects of contemporary Argentinian life…all wrapped up in brutal prose and shockingly vivid detail. Get it whilst its hot!

Things We Lost In The Fire is available from Hogarth Press here

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SOUR HEART

By Jenny Zhang

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Jenny Zhang’s sensational Sour Heart is something that needs to be read to be believed. This is an astonishing book full of graphic depictions of the lives of those held within the pages. I was lucky enough to review this book for Bloomsbury and you can read my full review here.

Sour Heart is available to purchase from Bloomsbury Circus here

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THE BREAKING POINT

By Daphne du Maurier

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An oldie but quite possibly one of the great short story writers – Daphne du Maurier writes with such a disregard to the rule book; it just doesn’t exist, and when you think of the time, social context of when these were written it’s just remarkable. It’s as if the woman disappeared into the future and returned somewhat informed and damaged. The stories within this collection are arrestingly brilliant and have the reader constantly second guessing what is going to happen. She is a delightful writer and if you are a short story writer or reader you need to discover the greatness that is Daphne du Maurier.

The Breaking Point is available here

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SUCH SMALL HANDS

By Andres Barba

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I enjoyed this novella greatly, but I believe our reviewer Alice Kouzmenko explains it best here – ‘The more I think and read about this book, the more I appreciate what Barba does with language, character, and genre boundaries. Technically, this novella can be finished in an hour. I’d argue, however, that such a rapid reading would prove impossible for psychological and physical reasons. In Such Small Hands, Andrés Barba gives a voice to the voiceless. As soon as you pick up this book, you have agreed to listen. Not only that, but you have committed to carry this story around with you. It will forever be stored somewhere inside your person. At some unpredictable point in the future, perhaps a rainy Monday afternoon at the bus stop, or a weekend excursion to the local zoo, you’ll remember Marina, the orphans, and their unforgettably tragic story. Who knew such small hands could make such a large impact?’

Such Small Hands is available from Portobello Book here

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STRANGE WEATHER

By Joe Hill

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Well this collection (four short novellas) was a bit of a letdown if I am honest. I was expecting such greatness following his fabulously absorbing tale Fireman and other many novels that I have enjoyed with such fondness – but ‘Strange Weather’ was rather a wet squib or more appropriately a brief shower. The first story in the book is by far the best story of the bunch and I personally thought that it could have been expanded upon to have been released as a great novel in its own right. The second story in the collection also has some fabulous elements too highlighting gun crime and possibly a call for the legislation on gun ownership in America being looked into. I felt somewhat let down by the third novella that took an age to read as it was just so dull, I was literally putting it off reading as I wanted to spend my quite precious time doing something I loved. The fourth novella helped peak my interest again, an interesting concept of the sky raining needles but it was a little too late to help save Joe Hill’s ‘Strange Weather’. I can’t wait for him to get back to novels, my full review will be coming soon to STORGY.

Strange Weather by Joe Hill is available here

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PEACH

By Emma Glass

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This novella is fabulous, it narrowly missed out on being in my top books of the year as I was midway through reading it, but writing this now, a week later, the book would have been in my top books of the year no doubt about it. The book is short, terrifying and brutal and introduces Emma Glass to the world. It’s fricking brilliant, she gives birth to a new way of writing fiction…go get yourselves a copy!

Peach by Emma Glass is available from Bloomsbury Circus here

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