Best Contemporary Short Stories in 2022

Contemporary Short Stories

If you love reading short stories, you might want to try some of the contemporary short stories. For example, if you are a Hemingway fan, you might enjoy "Victory Lap," which is one of my favorite stories by the author. Similarly, if you enjoy Alice Munro's work, you might find "Carol" interesting. But which Contemporary short stories are best? And which authors are the best?

Modern short stories

The structure of short stories is usually based around a single pivotal moment in the life of the main character. This moment may represent a turning point in the character's life, or it may be an event that triggers tension between two people or society. Sometimes the key moment is less important than how the characters respond to it. In such stories, the key moment may have already happened or be reported in some way. Other key moments may be mundane and ordinary, but the characters' responses are what is important.

In the 19th century, two words, "sketch" and "tale," were used interchangeably. Hundreds of books claimed to be collections of tales and sketches. Some of these books included works by Poe, Germaine Greer, and Peter Carellor. Others were published by lesser-known writers. However, these early examples show that there was no clear line between the two. Despite the confusion, the modern short story has endured in the form of short stories and has become a pillar of literature.

Despite their short form, modern writers have come up with critically-acclaimed short story collections. One such short story collection, Cat Person, has become a viral sensation. It's a tale of romance gone wrong and sparked a global conversation. However, it is still difficult to find a compelling short story. For those who are struggling to choose a story, we've compiled a list of five contemporary short stories that we recommend you read.


In his short stories, Ernest Hemingway infused consciousness into his characters and the writing style. Like Flaubert and Proust, Hemingway employed proleptic images and time shifts in his fiction. The reader must fill in the submerged meaning, and Stolzfus explores this issue in his novel The Snow Leopard. However, a Hemingway reader might find these comparisons to be problematic.

This story contains a variety of themes that include the loss of a loved one and the failure of art. It is autobiographical in nature, since Hemingway wrote it when he had doubts about his own productivity. The story is a mix of pulp fiction, boyhood tales, and adventure stories. The resulting work is a literary classic that combines elements of The Call of the Wild with pulp fiction.

The short story format was revived by Raymond Carver, who applied minimalism to the art of writing. In Cathedral, two men bond over a common image of a cathedral, which only one of them can see. Despite the simplicity of the story, it is still incredibly powerful. It is easy to read and a powerful ending makes the story worth reading. But, this is just one of the Hemingway contemporary short stories, and the author has written many more.

Hemingway's "Victory Lap"

Hemingway's "Victoria Lap" alternates between the perspectives of three main characters, with the protagonist, Allison, conjuring schoolgirl fantasies and the kidnapper, Kyle, sneaking in curse words through the veil of private thought. The book also explores the theme of control in everyday life with the help of the protagonists' internal monologues, which are brilliantly sketched.

It is worth mentioning that none of the authors of racing novels actually write like Hemingway. The great writer vilified the practice of imitation, so these novels attempt to emulate the turns and straights of real life racing, while capturing the spirit of what could have been. The novelists' goal is to mimic the frantic, violent action of real-life racing and depict the skills, talent, technical expertise, seat-of-the-pants sense, and desire that make up an intensely physical sport. Hemingway's stance on the sport may have led to his critics accusing him of plagiarism.

Alice Munro

Alice Munro has been writing short stories for more than 60 years. Her collection Dance of the Happy Shades, The View from Castle Rock, and The Moons of Jupiter are among her most celebrated works. Her many accolades include the Man Booker International Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, and the Governor General's Award. Her stories are often deeply moving and sometimes painful, but they all reveal a deep understanding of human nature.

Although the backlog of Munro's work is enormous, you can start reading her stories for free. You can browse the openings to find your favorite stories. Start with "Wenlock Edge" if you're new to Munro's work. And, of course, you can always purchase her short stories from online bookstores. A few of them are even free. Regardless of whether you want to read short stories or full novels, you'll never have to pay a dime to get the stories you've been craving.

This Canadian writer has been a bestselling author in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain for decades, and she has already carved out a loyal readership before she received the Nobel Prize. She was a college dropout who squeezed writing time around her children's naps. Nevertheless, she was able to become a celebrated short story writer in her early 60s. Known for her modesty and her ability to turn a common family's life into a powerful story, Alice Munro has achieved worldwide recognition for her short stories.

George Saunders

If you're looking for a great book of contemporary short stories, look no further than Contemporary Short Stories by George Saunders. Featured in the New Yorker since 1992, Saunders has become a major influence on American fiction. As a result, many writers lament that they've tried to imitate Saunders. In truth, however, many of his stories stand on their own, and they're worth reading just as they are.

As a reader, you'll be astonished by the way Saunders explores the absurd. Some of his stories are recognisably Saundersian, but others take on an entirely different tone. For example, "March Performance Stats" is a story told in fake chivalric speech. And in "The Other End of the Universe," a story in which the protagonist doesn't even know what he wants, another is written in satirical form. The story of Todd Birnie, meanwhile, reveals a dark secret. Other stories explore emotional territory that Saunders hasn't explored before.

Another collection of Gogol's works is "The Nose," a hilarious tale in which a minor functionary chases his nose around St. Petersburg and ends up appointing him to a superior position as state councilor. His gold-embroidered uniform and inability to find redress fuel the humor throughout the story. And his frank, casual attitude and dry humor make the stories all the more memorable.

Alexandra Kleeman

In her latest collection of contemporary short stories, Alexandra Kleeman explores the strange and perplexing aspects of eating. Although her tales may be surreal and uncanny, they are also very familiar. Her stories are full of characters whose actions and thoughts are rooted in physical realities. The story of a woman who snatches a jellyfish proves to be an excellent example of Kleeman's skill.

In her most recent collection, "Hylomorphosis," Kleeman demonstrates her ability to expand her narrative scope. The stories vary in tone and style, but they are all carefully arranged to mirror the arc of a human life. Her mastery of the sentence level allows Kleeman to conjure the bizarre, while revealing the complexity of her craft. Kleeman is also a great literary wrangler.

The surreal atmosphere of Alexandra Kleeman's contemporary short stories evoke a dreamlike, anxiety-ridden ambience. Many of the characters are preparing for exams or facing other examinations and are confused as to what the tests are actually measuring. The themes of identity, belonging, and knowing others are prevalent in her stories. The stories are not only captivating, but also challenging. And Kleeman's skill in exploring these themes makes her stories a must-read for any literary fan.

Joe Meno

The Use of Medicine is one of several modern short stories by acclaimed author Joe Meno. It is one of several stories from Meno's 2005 collection Bluebirds Used to Croon in the Choir. This tale follows two siblings who sedate animals for a puppet show. It is also a heart-breaking story about two children whose father has committed suicide. In a wry manner, Meno writes about the emotions and fears of a child facing loss.

Despite its relatively modest length, Tender as Hellfire is a novel that will appeal to readers of any age. The novel, a darkly funny novel, follows the plight of two young characters. One is an ex-con and the other is an amateur sound artist who lives on the fringes of society. Both are set in the end of the 20th century. In the second story, the reader follows the lives of two young Ghanaian refugees: Seidu Mohammed and Razak Iyal. Meno uses these two characters as foils to help readers figure out who they are and what they are looking for.

The first story, Office Girl, is a breakthrough novel for Meno. It takes place in 1999 and centers around two drifters who start an art movement. This stripped-down novel allows Meno's crystalline prose to shine. Not only is the novel's central character an art student, he also collects abandoned gloves and fills elevators with silver balloons. But the novel has other strengths, too.

Becky Watson

Commissioning Editor in Walker’s “6+” team. I work on books across the different children’s genres, including non-fiction, fiction, picture books, gift books and novelty titles. Happy to answer questions about children's publishing – as best I can – for those hoping to enter the industry!

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