I must say the past few months have, in my opinion, been generally excellent, with many stories that I think are extremely well crafted and profound (many deal with rape), and very little of the silly stuff (yes, I’m looking at you Coraghessan Boyle). I will link to the my favorite literary blog Mookse and the Gripes, where people discuss The New Yorker stories so you can see more profound remarks other than my own “I liked it.” Most of these I listened to the author reading via the Fiction Podcast.
Pat Barker: “Medusa” I found it amazing. An artist is raped. Her body goes through the motions of life. Her mind, though…
Colson Whitehead: “The Match” You start getting nervous during a story, with that dreadful feeling that you do not want to know where it is going, but where it is going is to a place that just cannot be forgotten, that has to be remembered every day, of cruelty so vast it is buried in the trunk of trees.
Lore Segal: “Dandelion” You must listen to her reading the story, with her wonderful accent. Wild Strawberries from a woman’s point of view. Profound and nostalgic.
Sally Rooney: “Color and Light” I gather she is getting a lot of good press. I liked the story, which is wonderfully vague and ambiguous.
Yiyun Li: “All Will Be Well” A writer listens to the stories told by her hairdresser, about her lost love. Much of the story is a meta story, and, one learns later when reading about Li, sadly unfolded from the author’s own experience.
Jonathan Lethem: “The Starlet Apartments” Not for everybody, but I thought there was more to the story than the surface. Perhaps a meta story buried in there?
Leïla Slimani: “The Confession” A young woman from the village is raped by the narrator. How can he live with it? Beautiful, sad story.
Mary Gaitskill: “Acceptance Journey” Dragged on a bit but how we can make sense of our sometimes all too ordinary lives is wonderful.