2022 Short Fiction Collections

Here is a list of the short fiction collections and anthologies that will be arriving on shelves in 2022!

If you are a short story author and you would like your collection on this list, contact me.


JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC

January

Fiona and Jane

by Jean Chen Ho (Jan 4)

A witty, warm, and irreverent book that traces the lives of two young Taiwanese American women as they navigate friendship, sexuality, identity, and heartbreak over two decades.

Best friends since second grade, Fiona Lin and Jane Shen explore the lonely freeways and seedy bars of Los Angeles together through their teenage years, surviving unfulfilling romantic encounters, and carrying with them the scars of their families’ tumultuous pasts. Fiona was always destined to leave, her effortless beauty burnished by fierce ambition—qualities that Jane admired and feared in equal measure. When Fiona moves to New York and cares for a sick friend through a breakup with an opportunistic boyfriend, Jane remains in California and grieves her estranged father’s sudden death, in the process alienating an overzealous girlfriend. Strained by distance and unintended betrayals, the women float in and out of each other’s lives, their friendship both a beacon of home and a reminder of all they’ve lost.

In stories told in alternating voices, Jean Chen Ho’s debut collection peels back the layers of female friendship—the intensity, resentment, and boundless love—to probe the beating hearts of young women coming to terms with themselves, and each other, in light of the insecurities and shame that holds them back.

Spanning countries and selves, Fiona and Jane is an intimate portrait of a friendship, a deep dive into the universal perplexities of being young and alive, and a bracingly honest account of two Asian women who dare to stake a claim on joy in a changing, contemporary America. (Viking)

Seasonal Work

by Laura Lippman (Jan 4)

In a suspenseful collection of stories featuring fierce women—including one never-before-published novella—New York Times bestseller Laura Lippman showcases why she is one of today’s top crime writers.

In the never-before-published “Just One More,” a married couple—longing for that old romantic spark—creates a playful diversion that comes with unexpected consequences.

Lippman’s beloved Baltimore PI Tess Monaghan keeps a watchful eye on a criminally resourceful single father in “Seasonal Work,” while her mother, Judith, realizes that the life of “The Everyday Housewife” is an excellent cover for all kinds of secrets. In “Slow Burner,” a husband’s secret cell phone proves to be a dicey temptation for a suspicious wife. A father’s hidden past piques the curiosity of a young snoop in “The Last of Sheila-Locke Holmes.”

Plus seven other brilliantly crafted stories of deception, murder, dangerous games, and love gone wrong—irrefutable evidence that Laura Lippman’s riveting fiction will more than satisfy any crime reader. (William Morrow)

A Deadly Affair: Unexpected Love Stories from the Queen of Mystery

by Agatha Christie (Jan 4)

From the Queen of Mystery—this all-new collection of stories about love gone horribly wrong will get your heart racing.

Love can propel us to our greatest heights . . . and darkest depths. In this new compendium of Agatha Christie short stories, witness the dark side of love—crimes of passion, games of the heart, and deadly deceits. This pulse-pounding compendium features beloved detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, master of charades Parker Pyne, the enigmatic Harley Quin, and the adventurous Tommy and Tuppence, all at the ready to solve tantalizing mysteries.

In “The Face of Helen,” a night at the Royal Opera could reach a fatal crescendo for a woman caught in a dicey love triangle; “Finessing the King” delivers a curious ad in the personals that could mask sinister intentions; who’s in danger of getting stung in “Wasps’ Nest” depends on rounding up suspects and solving a murder—before it even happens. These are just a few of the tales in this collection featuring essential reading that Christie fans old and new will simply love to death.

Shit Cassandra Saw

by Gwen Kirby (Jan 11)

Margaret Atwood meets Buffy in these funny, warm, and furious stories of women at their breaking points, from Hellenic times to today.

Cassandra may have seen the future, but it doesn’t mean she’s resigned to telling the Trojans everything she knows. In this ebullient collection, virgins escape from being sacrificed, witches refuse to be burned, whores aren’t ashamed, and every woman gets a chance to be a radioactive cockroach warrior who snaps back at catcallers. Gwen E. Kirby experiments with found structures–a Yelp review, a WikiHow article–which her fierce, irreverent narrators push against, showing how creativity within an enclosed space undermines and deconstructs the constraints themselves. When these women tell the stories of their triumphs as well as their pain, they emerge as funny, angry, loud, horny, lonely, strong protagonists who refuse to be secondary characters a moment longer. From “The Best and Only Whore of Cym Hyfryd, 1886” to the “Midwestern Girl Is Tired of Appearing in Your Short Stories,” Kirby is playing and laughing with the women who have come before her and they are telling her, we have always been this way. You just had to know where to look. (Penguin)

Send Nudes

by Saba Sams (Jan 20)

In ten dazzling stories, Saba Sams dives into the world of girlhood and immerses us in its contradictions and complexities: growing up too quickly, yet not quickly enough; taking possession of what one can, while being taken possession of; succumbing to societal pressure but also orchestrating that pressure. These young women are feral yet attentive, fierce yet vulnerable, exploited yet exploitative.

Threading between clubs at closing time, pub toilets, drenched music festivals and beach holidays, these unforgettable short stories deftly chart the treacherous terrain of growing up – of intense friendships, of ambivalent mothers, of uneasily blended families, and of learning to truly live in your own body.

With striking wit, originality and tenderness, Send Nudes celebrates the small victories in a world that tries to claim each young woman as its own. (Bloomsbury)

Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century

by Kim Fu (Jan 25)

In the twelve unforgettable tales of Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, the strange is made familiar and the familiar strange, such that a girl growing wings on her legs feels like an ordinary rite of passage, while a bug-infested house becomes an impossible, Kafkaesque nightmare. Each story builds a new world all its own: a group of children steal a haunted doll; a runaway bride encounters a sea monster; a vendor sells toy boxes that seemingly control the passage of time; an insomniac is seduced by the Sandman. These visions of modern life wrestle with themes of death and technological consequence, guilt and sexuality, and unmask the contradictions that exist within all of us.  

Mesmerizing, electric, and wholly original, Kim Fu’s Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century blurs the boundaries of the real and fantastic, offering intricate and surprising insights into human nature. (Coach House Books)

Manywhere

by Morgan Thomas (Jan 25)

The nine stories in Morgan Thomas’s shimmering debut collection witness Southern queer and genderqueer characters determined to find themselves reflected in the annals of history, whatever the cost. As Thomas’s subjects trace deceit and violence through Southern tall tales and their own pasts, their journeys reveal the porous boundaries of body, land, and history, and the sometimes ruthless awakenings of self-discovery.

A trans woman finds her independence with the purchase of a pregnancy bump; a young Virginian flees their relationship, choosing instead to immerse themself in the life of an intersex person from Colonial-era Jamestown. A writer tries to evade the murky and violent legacy of an ancestor who supposedly disappeared into a midwifery bag, and in the uncanny title story, a young trans person brings home a replacement daughter for their elderly father.

Winding between reinvention and remembrance, transition and transcendence, these origin stories resound across centuries. With warm, meticulous emotional intelligence, Morgan Thomas uncovers how the stories we borrow to understand ourselves in turn shape the people we become. Ushering in a new form of queer mythmaking, Manywhere introduces a storyteller of uncommon range and talent. (MCD Books)

Mestiza Blood

by V Castro (Jan 25)

A short story collection of nightmares, dreams, desire and visions centered around the Chicana experience. The stunning, star-reviewed V. Castro weaves urban legend, folklore, life experience and heartache in this intimate anthology of modern horrors.

From the lauded author of The Queen of the Cicadas (which picked up starred reviews from PWKirkus and Booklist who called her “a dynamic and innovative voice”) comes a short story collection of nightmares, dreams, desire and visions focused on the Chicana experience. V.Castro weaves urban legend, folklore, life experience and heartache in this personal journey beginning in south Texas: a bar where a devil dances the night away; a street fight in a neighborhood that may not have been a fight after all; a vengeful chola at the beginning of the apocalypse; mind swapping in the not so far future; satan who falls and finds herself in a brothel in Amsterdam; the keys to Mictlan given to a woman after she dies during a pandemic. The collection finishes with two longer tales: The Final Porn Star is a twist on the final girl trope and slasher, with a creature from Mexican folklore; and Truck Stop is an erotic horror romance with two hearts: a video store and a truck stop. (Flame Tree Press)

Thank You, Mr. Nixon

by Gish Jen (Jan 25)

The acclaimed, award-winning author of The Resisters takes measure of the fifty years since the opening of China and its unexpected effects on the lives of ordinary people. It is a unique book that only Jen could write—a story collection accruing the power of a novel as it proceeds—a work that Cynthia Ozick has called “an art beyond art. It is life itself.”

Beginning with a cheery letter penned by a Chinese girl in heaven to “poor Mr. Nixon” in hell, Gish Jen embarks on a fictional journey through U.S.-China relations, capturing the excitement of a world on the brink of tectonic change.
 
Opal Chen reunites with her Chinese sisters after forty years; newly cosmopolitan Lulu Koo wonders why Americans “like to walk around in the woods with the mosquitoes”; Hong Kong parents go to extreme lengths to reestablish contact with their “number-one daughter” in New York; and Betty Koo, brought up on “no politics, just make money,” finds she must reassess her mother’s philosophy.
 
With their profound compassion and equally profound humor, these eleven linked stories trace the intimate ways in which humans make and are made by history, capturing an extraordinary era in an extraordinary way. Delightful, provocative, and powerful, Thank You, Mr. Nixon furnishes yet more proof of Gish Jen’s eminent place among American storytellers. (Knopf)

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February

Anonymous Sex

edited by Hillary Jordan and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan (Feb 1)

27 Authors. 27 Stories. No Names Attached.

A bold collection of stories about sex that leaves you guessing who wrote what.

Bestselling novelists Hillary Jordan and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan present an elegant, international anthology of erotica that explores the diverse spectrum of desire, written by winners of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, PEN Awards, the Women’s Prize for Fiction, Edgar Award, and more. There are stories of sexual obsession and sexual love, of domination and submission. There’s revenge sex, unrequited sex, funny sex, tortured sex, fairy tale sex, and even sex in the afterlife.

While the authors are listed in alphabetical order at the beginning of the book, none of the stories are attributed, providing readers with a glimpse into an uninhibited landscape of sexuality as explored by twenty-seven of today’s finest authors.

Featuring Robert Olen Butler, Catherine Chung, Trent Dalton, Heidi W. Durrow, Tony Eprile, Louise Erdrich, Jamie Ford, Julia Glass, Peter Godwin, Hillary Jordan, Rebecca Makkai, Valerie Martin, Dina Nayeri, Chigozie Obioma, Téa Obreht, Helen Oyeyemi, Mary-Louise Parker, Victoria Redel, Jason Reynolds, S.J. Rozan, Meredith Talusan, Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, Souvankham Thammavongsa, Jeet Thayil, Paul Theroux, Luis Alberto Urrea, and Edmund White. (Scribner)

Recitatif

by Toni Morrison (Feb 1)

In this 1983 short story we meet Twyla and Roberta, who have known each other since they were eight years old and spent four months together as roommates in St. Bonaventure shelter. Inseparable then, they lose touch as they grow older, only later to find each other again at a diner, a grocery store, and again at a protest. Seemingly at opposite ends of every problem, and at each other’s throats each time they meet, the two women still cannot deny the deep bond their shared experience has forged between them.
 
Another work of genius by this masterly writer, Recitatif keeps Twyla’s and Roberta’s races ambiguous throughout the story. Morrison herself described Recitatif, a story which will keep readers thinking and discussing for years to come, as “an experiment in the removal of all racial codes from a narrative about two characters of different races for whom racial identity is crucial.” We know that one is white and one is Black, but which is which? And who is right about the race of the woman the girls tormented at the orphanage?
 
A remarkable look into what keeps us together and what keeps us apart, and how perceptions are made tangible by reality, Recitatif is a gift to readers in these changing times. (Knopf Canada)

Seasons of Purgatory

by Shahrlar Mandanlpour (Feb 3)

In Seasons of Purgatory, the fantastical and the visceral merge in tales of tender desire and collective violence, the boredom and brutality of war, and the clash of modern urban life and rural traditions. Mandanipour, banned from publication in his native Iran, vividly renders the individual consciousness in extremis from a variety of perspectives: young and old, man and woman, conscript and prisoner. While delivering a ferocious social critique, these stories are steeped in the poetry and stark beauty of an ancient land and culture. (Bellevue Literary Press)

Blood Feast

by Malika Moustradaf (Feb 8)

Malika Moustadraf (1969–2006) is a feminist icon in contemporary Moroccan literature, celebrated for her stark interrogation of gender and sexuality in North Africa.

Blood Feast is the complete collection of Moustadraf’s published short fiction: haunting, visceral stories by a master of the genre. A teenage girl suffers through a dystopian rite of passage​,​ a man with kidney disease makes desperate attempts to secure treatment​, and a mother schemes to ensure her daughter passes a virginity test.

Delighting in vibrant sensory detail and rich slang, Moustadraf takes an unflinching look at the gendered body, social class, illness, double standards, and desire, as lived by a diverse cast of characters. Blood Feast is a sharp provocation to patriarchal power and a celebration of the life and genius of one of Morocco’s preeminent writers. (The Feminist Press at Cuny)

Reclaim the Stars: 17 Tales Across Realms & Space

by Zoraida Córdova (Feb 15)

From stories that take you to the stars, to stories that span into other times and realms, to stories set in the magical now, Reclaim the Stars takes the Latin American diaspora to places fantastical and out of this world.

Follow princesses warring in space, haunting ghost stories in Argentina, mermaids off the coast of the Caribbean, swamps that whisper secrets, and many more realms explored and unexplored; this stunning collection of seventeen short stories breaks borders and realms to prove that stories are truly universal.

Reclaim the Stars features both bestselling and acclaimed authors as well as two new voices in the genres: Vita Ayala, David Bowles, J.C. Cervantes, Zoraida Córdova, Sara Faring, Romina Garber, Isabel Ibañez, Anna-Marie McLemore, Yamile Saied Méndez, Nina Moreno, Circe Moskowitz, Maya Motayne, Linda Raquel Nieves Pérez, Daniel José Older, Claribel A. Ortega, Mark Oshiro and Lilliam Rivera. (Wednesday Books)

Life Without Children

by Roddy Doyle (Feb 22)

A brilliantly warm, witty and moving portrait of our pandemic lives, told in ten heart-rending and uplifting short stories.

Love and marriage. Children and family. Death and grief. Life touches everyone the same. But living under lockdown, it changes us alone.

In these ten, beautifully moving short stories, Booker Prize-winner Roddy Doyle paints a collective portrait of our strange times. A man abroad wanders the stag-and-hen-strewn streets of Newcastle, as news of the virus at home asks him to question his next move. An exhausted nurse struggles to let go, having lost a much-loved patient in isolation. A middle-aged son, barred from his mother’s funeral, wakes to an oncoming hangover of regret.

Told with Doyle’s signature warmth, wit and extraordinary eye for the richness that underpins the quiet of our lives, Life Without Children cuts to the heart of how we are all navigating loss, loneliness and the shifting of history underneath our feet. (Knopf Canada)

This Here Flesh

by Cole Arthur Riley (Feb 22)

“From the womb, we must repeat with regularity that to love ourselves is to survive. I believe that is what my father wanted for me and knew I would so desperately need: a tool for survival, the truth of my dignity named like a mercy new each morning.”
 
So writes Cole Arthur Riley in her unforgettable book of stories and reflections on discovering the sacred in her skin. In these deeply transporting pages, Arthur Riley reflects on the stories of her grandmother and father, and how they revealed to her an embodied, dignity-affirming spirituality, not only in what they believed but in the act of living itself. Writing memorably of her own childhood and coming to self, Arthur Riley boldly explores some of the most urgent questions of life and faith: How can spirituality not silence the body, but instead allow it to come alive? How do we honor, lament, and heal from the stories we inherit? How can we find peace in a world overtaken with dislocation, noise, and unrest? In this indelible work of contemplative storytelling, Arthur Riley invites us to descend into our own stories, examine our capacity to rest, wonder, joy, rage, and repair, and find that our humanity is not an enemy to faith but evidence of it.
 
At once a compelling spiritual meditation, a powerful intergenerational account, and a tender coming-of-age narrative, This Here Flesh speaks potently to anyone who suspects that our stories might have something to say to us. (Convergent Books)

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March

Stray Dogs

by Rawi Hage (Mar 1)

From the internationally acclaimed author of the novels De Niro’s GameCockroachCarnival and Beirut Hellfire Society, here is a captivating and cosmopolitan collection of stories.

In Montreal, a photographer’s unexpected encounter with actress Sophia Loren leads to a life-altering revelation about his dead mother. In Beirut, a disillusioned geologist eagerly awaits the destruction that will come with an impending tsunami. In Tokyo, a Jordanian academic delivering a lecture at a conference receives haunting news from the Persian Gulf. And in Berlin, a Lebanese writer forms a fragile, fateful bond with his voluble German neighbours.

The irresistible characters in Stray Dogs lead radically different lives, but all are restless travelers, moving between states—nation-states and states of mind—seeking connection, escaping the past and following delicate threads of truth, only to experience the sometimes shocking, sometimes amusing and often random ways our fragile modern identities are constructed, destroyed, and reborn. Politically astute, philosophically wise, humane, relevant and caustically funny, these stories reveal the singular vision of award-winning writer Rawi Hage at his best. (Knopf Canada)

The Last Suspicious Holdout

by Ladee Hubbard (Mar 7)

The critically acclaimed author of The Rib King returns with an eagerly anticipated collection of interlocking short stories including the title story written exclusively for this volume, that explore relationships between friends, family and strangers in a Black neighborhood over fifteen years

The twelve gripping tales In The Last Suspicious Holdout, the new story collection by award-winning author Ladee Hubbard, deftly chronicle poignant moments in the lives of an African American community located in a “sliver of southern suburbia.” Spanning from 1992 to 2007, the stories represent a period during which the Black middle-class expanded while stories of “welfare Queens,” “crack babies,” and “super predators” abounded in the media. In “False Cognates,” a formerly incarcerated attorney struggles with raising the tuition to keep his troubled son in an elite private school. In “There He Go,” a young girl whose mother moves constantly clings to a picture of the grandfather she doesn’t know but invents stories of his greatness. Characters spotlighted in one story reappear in another, providing a stunning testament to the enduring resilience of Black people as they navigate the “post-racial” period The Last Suspicious Holdout so vividly portrays. (HarperCollins)

Seeking Fortune Elsewhere

by Sindya Bhanoo (Mar 8)

These intimate stories of South Indian immigrants and the families they left behind center women’s lives and ask how women both claim and surrender power—a stunning debut collection from an O. Henry Prize winner

Traveling from Pittsburgh to Eastern Washington to Tamil Nadu, these stories about dislocation and dissonance see immigrants and their families confront the costs of leaving and staying, identifying sublime symmetries in lives growing apart.

In “Malliga Homes,” selected by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for an O. Henry Prize, a widow in a retirement community glimpses her future while waiting for her daughter to visit from America. In “No. 16 Model House Road,” a woman long subordinate to her husband makes a choice of her own after she inherits a house. In “Nature Exchange,” a mother grieving in the wake of a school shooting finds an unusual obsession. In “A Life in America,” a professor finds himself accused of having exploited his graduate students.
 
Sindya Bhanoo’s haunting stories show us how immigrants’ paths, and the paths of those they leave behind, are never simple. Bhanoo takes us along on their complicated journeys where regret, hope, and triumph appear in disguise. (Catapult)

The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories: A Collection of Chinese Science Fiction and Fantasy in Translation from a Visionary Team of Female and Nonbinary Creators

by Yu Chen and Regina Kanyu Wang (Mar 8)

From an award-winning team of authors, editors, and translators comes a groundbreaking short story collection that explores the expanse of Chinese science fiction and fantasy.

In The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories, you can dine at a restaurant at the end of the universe, cultivate to immortality in the high mountains, watch roses perform Shakespeare, or arrive at the island of the gods on the backs of giant fish to ensure that the world can bloom.

Written, edited, and translated by a female and nonbinary team, these stories have never before been published in English and represent both the richly complicated past and the vivid future of Chinese science fiction and fantasy.

Time travel to a winter’s day on the West Lake, explore the very boundaries of death itself, and meet old gods and new heroes in this stunning new collection. (Tordotcom)

Homesickness

by Colin Barrett (Mar 10)

From the prize-winning author of YOUNG SKINS, comes HOMESICKNESS – a quietly caustic, startlingly beautiful and wonderfully wry new short story collection.

In these eight stories, Barrett takes us back to the barren backwaters of County Mayo, via Toronto, and illuminates the lives of outcasts, misfits and malcontents with an eye for the abrupt and absurd. A quiet night in the neighbourhood pub is shattered by the arrival of a sword wielding fugitive. A funeral party teeters on the edge of this world and the next, as ghosts won’t simply lay in wake. A shooting sees an everyday call-out lead a policewoman to confront the banality of her own existence.

A true follow-up to his electrifying debut collection, HOMESICKNESS marks Colin Barrett out as our most brilliantly original and captivating storyteller. (McClelland & Stewart)

Animal Stories

by Peter and Maria Hoey (Mar 15)

What separates us from animals? What connects us? Award-winning cartoonists Peter and Maria Hoey probe these mysteries across six surreal and interconnected stories.

After tremendous acclaim for their series Coin-Op Comics, two brilliant creators present their first graphic novel: a menagerie of wild tales. Pushing the boundaries of their dazzling and unique narrative style, Animal Stories weaves together six short stories exploring the mysterious relationships between humans and other animals.

A girl who keeps pigeons starts receiving messages from a new bird in her flock. A ship’s crew rescue a dog, only to find far stranger things in the sea around them. A reincarnated cat with criminal intentions, a parrot who leads a revolution, and a squirrel who tempts a woman in a beautiful garden glade.

Drawing inspiration from Aesop’s Fables, film noir, and the Old Testament, Peter and Maria Hoey apply their singular and sophisticated visual storytelling to create a new set of modern animal tales for modern times. (Top Shelf Productions)

Splendid Anatomies

by Allison Wyss (Mar 15)

The very peculiar and human characters of Splendid Anatomies (short stories) by Allison Wyss live in, on, and far beyond the periphery, learning to love themselves as they claim and reclaim their bodies. They get tattoos, have radical operations, wear prostheses, even dig bloody veins from their legs. They hack themselves to pieces. But then they stitch themselves back up–in ways that are both glorious and painful. These stories, set in the lands of fables, in other universes, and even the Midwest, are grotesque and gory, menacing and magical, sad, funny, and true celebrations of what it means to live. (Veliz Books)

Reverse Engineering

edited by Scratch Books (Mar 16)

Seven of the best recent short stories, disassembled by authors Jon McGregor, Sarah Hall, Irenosen Okojie, Chris Power, Jessie Greengrass, Joseph O’Neill, and Mahreen Sohail with an introduction by Tom Conaghan.

This innovative anthology reveals the inspiration, the ideals and the work involved in a great short story. Reverse Engineering brings together contemporary classic stories with their authors’ discussion of how they wrote it.

An essential book for everyone interested in how fiction works. (Scratch Books)

The Burnished Sun

by Miranda Riwoe (Mar 28)

From the award-winning author of Stone Sky Gold Mountain come these superbly crafted stories that explore the inner lives of those who are often ignored or misunderstood. We follow a migrant mother who yearns to feel welcomed at a kids’ party in a local park; a young skateboarder caught between showing loyalty and being accepted; and an Indonesian maid working far from home who longs for the son she’s left behind. Bookending this collection are two stunning novellas: Annah the Javanese re-imagines the world of one of Paul Gauguin’s models in nineteenth-century Paris, while the highly acclaimed The Fish Girl reworks a classic W Somerset Maugham story from the perspective of a young Indonesian woman. With rich emotional insight and a light touch, these wide-ranging stories reveal hidden desires and human fragility. (University of Queensland Press)

Out There

by Kate Folk (Mar 29)

With a focus on the weird and eerie forces that lurk beneath the surface of ordinary experience, Kate Folk’s debut collection is perfectly pitched to the madness of our current moment. A medical ward for a mysterious bone-melting disorder is the setting of a perilous love triangle. A curtain of void obliterates the globe at a steady pace, forcing Earth’s remaining inhabitants to decide with whom they want to spend eternity. A man fleeing personal scandal enters a codependent relationship with a house that requires a particularly demanding level of care. And in the title story, originally published in The New Yorker, a woman in San Francisco uses dating apps to find a partner despite the threat posed by “blots,” preternaturally handsome artificial men dispatched by Russian hackers to steal data. Meanwhile, in a poignant companion piece, a woman and a blot forge a genuine, albeit doomed, connection. 

Prescient and wildly imaginative, Out There depicts an uncanny landscape that holds a mirror to our subconscious fears and desires. Each story beats with its own fierce heart, and together they herald an exciting new arrival in the tradition of speculative literary fiction. (Random House)

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April

The Adventurists: and Other Stories

by Richard Butner (Apr 1)

Remember the girl you once knew, the theater kid? Now she’s become the Queen, and you might need to rescue her. There’s the historic house, where someone once saw a ghost and you almost fell in love. An ornithopter hangs in the lobby of your corporate workplace: your co-worker thinks he might be able to operate it. Once you found a tunnel under your old high school, and couldn’t resist going to see where it led.

Sometimes a door will open into a new world, sometimes into the past. Putting on a costume might be the restart you are half hoping for. There are things buried here. You might want to save them. You might want to get out of the way.

Butner’s allusive and elusive stories reach into the uncanny corners of life—where there are no job losses, just HCAPs (Head Count Allocation Procedures), where a tree might talk to just one person, where Death’s Fool is not to be ignored. (Small Beer Press)

Animal Person

by Alexander MacLeod (Apr 5)

From Giller Prize finalist Alexander MacLeod comes a magnificent collection about the needs, temptations, and tensions that exist just beneath the surface of our lives. Named a Canadian Fiction title to watch by the CBC, Quill & Quire, and 49th Shelf. Featuring stories published in The New YorkerGranta, and the O. Henry Prize Stories.

Startling, suspenseful, deeply humane yet alert to the undertow of our darker instincts, the eight stories in Animal Person illuminate what it means to exist in the perilous space between desire and action, and to have your faith in what you hold true buckle and give way.

A petty argument between two sisters is interrupted by an unexpected visitor. Adjoining motel rooms connect a family on the brink of a new life with a criminal whose legacy will haunt them for years to come. A connoisseur of other people’s secrets is undone by what he finds in a piece of lost luggage. In the wake of a tragic accident, a young man must contend with what is owed to the living and to the dead. And in the O. Henry Award-winning story “Lagomorph,” a man’s relationship with his family’s long-lived pet rabbit opens up to become a profound exploration of how a marriage fractures.

Muscular and tender, beautifully crafted, and alive with an elemental power, these stories explore the struggle for meaning and connection in an age when many of us feel cut off from so much, not least ourselves. This is a collection that beats with raw emotion and shimmers with the complexity of our shared human experience, and it confirms Alexander MacLeod’s reputation as a modern master of the short story. (McClelland & Stewart)

Heartbroke

by Chelsea Bieker (Apr 4)

United by the stark and sprawling landscapes of California’s Central Valley, the characters of Heartbroke boil with reckless desire. A woman steals a baby from a shelter in an attempt to recoup her own lost motherhood. A phone-sex operator sees divine opportunity when a lavender-eyed cowboy walks into her life. A mother and a son selling dream catchers along a highway that leads to a toxic beach manifest two young documentary filmmakers into their realm. And two teenage girls play a dangerous online game with destiny.
 
Heartbroke brims over with each character’s attempt to salvage grace where they can find it. Told in bright, snapping prose that reveals a world of loss and love underneath, Chelsea Bieker brilliantly illuminates a golden yet gothic world of longing and abandonment under an unrelenting California sun. (Catapult)

Nobody Gets Out Alive

by Leigh Newman (Apr 12)

From the ​prizewinning, debut fiction author: an exhilarating virtuosic story collection about women navigating the wilds of male-dominated Alaskan society.

Set in Newman’s home state of Alaska, Nobody Gets Out Alive is a collection of dazzling, courageous stories about women struggling to survive not just grizzly bears and charging moose but the raw, exhausting legacy of their marriages and families. In “Howl Palace”—winner of The Paris Review’s Terry Southern Prize, a Best American Short Story, and Pushcart Prize selection—an aging widow struggles with a rogue hunting dog and the memories of her five ex-husbands while selling her house after bankruptcy. In the title story, “Nobody Gets Out Alive,” newly married Katrina visits her hometown of Anchorage and blows up her own wedding reception by flirting with the host and running off with an enormous mastodon tusk. (Scribner)

Ezra’s Ghosts

by Darcy Tamayose (Apr 14)

Award-winning author Darcy Tamayose returns with Ezra’s Ghosts, a collection of fantastical stories linked by a complex mingling of language and culture, as well as a deep understanding of grief and what it makes of us.

Within these pages a scholar writes home from the Ryukyu islands, not knowing that his hometown will soon face a deadly calamity of its own. Another seeker of truth is trapped in Ezra after her violent death, and must watch how her family—and her killer—alter in her absence. The oldest man in town, an immigrant who came to Canada to escape imperial hardships, sprouts wings, and a wounded journalist bears witness to his transformation. Finally, past and present collide as a researcher reflects on the recent skinwars that have completely altered the world’s topography. Binding the stories together is an intersect of arrival and departure—in a quiet prairie town called Ezra. (NeWest Press)

The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer

by Janelle Monáe (Apr 19)

In The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer, singer-songwriter, actor, fashion icon, futurist, and worldwide superstar Janelle Monáe brings to the written page the Afrofuturistic world of one of her critically acclaimed albumsexploring how different threads of liberation—queerness, race, gender plurality, and love—become tangled with future possibilities of memory and time in such a totalitarian landscape…and what the costs might be when trying to unravel and weave them into freedoms.

Whoever controls our memories controls the future.

Janelle Monáe and an incredible array of talented collaborators have crafted a collection of tales comprising the bold vision and powerful themes that have made Monáe such a compelling and celebrated storyteller. Dirty Computer introduced a world in which thoughts—as a means of self-conception—could be controlled or erased by a select few. And whether you were human, AI, or other, your life and sentience were dictated by those who’d convinced themselves they had the right to decide your fate.

That was until Jane 57821 decided to remember and break free.

Expanding from that mythos, these stories fully explore what it’s like to live in such a totalitarian society . . . and what it takes to get out of it. Building off the tradition of speculative fiction writers such as Octavia E. Butler, Ted Chiang, Becky Chambers, and Nnedi Okorafor—and filled with powerful themes and Monáe’s emblematic artistic vision—The Memory Librarian serves to readers tales that dissect the human trials of identity expression, technology, and love, reaching through to the worlds of memory and time, and the stakes and power that pulse there. (Harper Voyager)

Uncertain Kin

by Janice Lynn Mather (Apr 19)

For readers of Frying Plantain and Scarborough, a luminous, mesmerizing collection of linked stories about the lives of woman and girls in The Bahamas, from rising literary star and Governor General’s Award–finalist Janice Lynn Mather.

Set against the vivid backdrop of The Bahamas, these eighteen beautiful and haunting stories introduce us to women and girls searching for identity and belonging during moments of profound upheaval. These women are bold and big-hearted, complex and intimately familiar. They grapple with the bonds of kinship and the responsibilities of parenthood, with grief, longing, betrayal, coming of age and what it means to be a woman.

In “Mango Summer,” little girls begin disappearing from their beds during one lush, steaming August. In “Morning Swim,” a jogger, newly diagnosed with cancer, makes a sinister discovery on the beach. Nassau wakes up to blood-red water pouring from its taps after a pastor decries witchcraft in “Drinking Water.” In “Boyo,” a woman new to Vancouver struggles to plant roots in a city that doesn’t seem to want her or her young son.  

These stories are at once deeply grounded and tinged with folkoric and surreal elements—and all speak to the beauty and brutality of being alive. (Doubleday Canada)

Buffalo is the New Buffalo

by Chelsea Vowel (Apr 26)

Powerful stories of “Metis futurism” that envision a world without violence, capitalism, or colonization.

“Education is the new buffalo” is a metaphor widely used among Indigenous peoples in Canada to signify the importance of education to their survival and ability to support themselves, as once Plains nations supported themselves as buffalo peoples. The assumption is that many of the pre-Contact ways of living are forever gone, so adaptation is necessary. But Chelsea Vowel asks, “Instead of accepting that the buffalo, and our ancestral ways, will never come back, what if we simply ensure that they do?”

Inspired by classic and contemporary speculative fiction, Buffalo Is the New Buffalo explores science fiction tropes through a Metis lens: a Two-Spirit rougarou (shapeshifter) in the nineteenth century tries to solve a murder in her community and joins the nehiyaw-pwat (Iron Confederacy) in order to successfully stop Canadian colonial expansion into the West. A Metis man is gored by a radioactive bison, gaining super strength, but losing the ability to be remembered by anyone not related to him by blood. Nanites babble to babies in Cree, virtual reality teaches transformation, foxes take human form and wreak havoc on hearts, buffalo roam free, and beings grapple with the thorny problem of healing from colonialism.

Indigenous futurisms seek to discover the impact of colonization, remove its psychological baggage, and recover ancestral traditions. These eight short stories of “Metis futurism” explore Indigenous existence and resistance through the specific lens of being Metis. Expansive and eye-opening, Buffalo Is the New Buffalo rewrites our shared history in provocative and exciting ways. (Arsenal Pulp Press)

Maria, Maria and Other Stories

by Marytza K. Rubio (Apr 26)

Set against the tropics and megacities of the Americas, Maria, Maria takes inspiration from wild creatures, tarot, and the porous borders between life and death. Motivated by love and its inverse, grief, the characters who inhabit these stories negotiate boldly with nature to cast their desired ends. As the enigmatic community college professor in “Brujería for Beginners” reminds us: “There’s always a price for conjuring in darkness. You won’t always know what it is until payment is due.” This commitment drives the disturbingly faithful widow in “Tijuca,” who promises to bury her husband’s head in the rich dirt of the jungle, and the sisters in “Moksha,” who are tempted by a sleek obsidian dagger once held by a vampiric idol.

But magic isn’t limited to the women who wield it. As Rubio so brilliantly elucidates, animals are powerful magicians too. Subversive pigeons and hungry jaguars are called upon in “Tunnels,” and a lonely little girl runs free with a resurrected saber-toothed tiger in “Burial.” A colorful catalog of gallery exhibits from animals in therapy is featured in “Art Show,” including the Almost Philandering Fox, who longs after the red pelt of another, and the recently rehabilitated Paranoid Peacocks.

Brimming with sharp wit and ferocious female intuition, these stories bubble over into the titular novella, “Maria, Maria”—a tropigoth family drama set in a reimagined California rainforest that explores the legacies of three Marias, and possibly all Marias. Writing in prose so lush it threatens to creep off the page, Rubio emerges as an ineffable new voice in contemporary short fiction. (Liveright)

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May

Valleyesque: Stories

by Fernando A Flores (May 3)

Psychedelic, dazzling stories set in the cracks of the Texas-Mexico borderland, from an iconoclastic storyteller and the author of Tears of the Trufflepig.

No one captures the border―its history and imagination, its danger, contradiction, and redemption―like Fernando A. Flores, whose stories reimagine and reinterpret the region’s existence with peerless style. In his immersive, uncanny borderland, things are never what they seem: a world where the sun is both rising and setting, and where conniving possums efficiently take over an entire town and rewrite its history.

The stories in Valleyesque dance between the fantastical and the hyperreal with dexterous, often hilarious flair. A dying Frédéric Chopin stumbles through Ciudad Juárez in the aftermath of his mother’s death, attempting to recover his beloved piano that was seized at the border, while a muralist is taken on a psychedelic journey by an airbrushed Emiliano Zapata T-shirt. A woman is engulfed by a used-clothing warehouse with a life of its own, and a grieving mother breathlessly chronicles the demise of a town decimated by violence. In two separate stories, queso dip and musical rhythms are bottled up and sold for mass consumption. And in the final tale, Flores pieces together the adventures of a young Lee Harvey Oswald as he starts a music career in Texas.

Swinging between satire and surrealism, grief and joy, Valleyesque is a boundary- and border-pushing collection from a one-of-a-kind stylist and voice. With the visceral imagination that made his debut novel, Tears of the Trufflepig, a cult classic, Flores brings his vision of the border to life―and beyond. (MCD x FSG Originals)

God Isn’t Here Today

by Francine Cunningham (May 10)

For fans of Chuck Palahniuk, Joyce Carol Oates, and Karen Russell, the stories in Francine Cunningham’s debut collection God Isn’t Here Today ricochet between form and genre, taking readers on a dark, irreverent, yet poignant journey led by a unique and powerful new voice.

Driven by desperation into moments of transformation, Cunningham’s characters are presented with moments of choice—some for the better and some for the worse. A young man goes to God’s office downtown for advice; a woman discovers she is the last human on Earth; an ice cream vendor is driven insane by his truck’s song; an ageing stripper uses undergarments to enact her escape plan; an incubus tires of his professional grind; and a young woman inherits a power that has survived genocide, but comes with a burden of its own. (Invisible Publishing)

Taobao: Stories

by Dan K. Woo (May 10)

In twelve spare, fable-like short stories Dan K. Woo introduces us to a fascinating cast of characters from different regions of China. From rural villages to bustling cities, Woo deftly charts the paths of young people searching for love, meaning and happiness in a country that is often misunderstood in North America. Whether they are participating in a marriage market to appease their mother, working as a delivery boy in Beijing or dealing with trauma in a hospital in Shanghai, we see these young people push against both tradition and the lightning-fast economy to try and make their way in often difficult situations. Woo brings remarkable empathy to these dreamlike stories and their twists and turns, which will linger long in readers’ minds. Through it all, the spectre of Taobao – China’s online retail giant – hovers, providing everything the characters might need or want, while also acting as a thread that ties together a captivating and complex collection of stories set in a captivating and complex country. (Wolsak & Wynn)

The Devil Took Her: Tales of Horror

by Michael Botur (May 13)

Melanie’s increasingly disturbing journal entries have to be delusional ravings—if they’re not, there’s something terrible out there, snatching runaways in the night and spiriting them off to somewhere unspeakable.

In his debut collection of horror stories, The Devil Took Her, short fiction writer Michael Botur, recognized in his native New Zealand as “one of the most original story writers of his generation,” offers twelve terrifying and bizarre tales that take us to the dark extremes of human imagination.

A woman trapped in a coal cellar discovers that in order to live, part of her needs to die. A teen prankster’s vicious joke against her tutor brings revenge served cold. Cutting class turns terrifying for two high school introverts. A powerful-yet-paranoid publisher turns a young man’s magazine internship into a nightmare. And more . . . (The Sager Group LLC)

Rainbow Rainbow

by Lydia Conklin (May 30)

A fearless collection of stories that celebrate the humor, darkness, and depth of emotion of the queer and trans experience that’s not typically represented: liminal or uncertain identities, queer conception, and queer joy

In this exuberant, prize-winning collection, queer, trans, and gender-nonconforming characters seek love and connection in hilarious and heartrending stories that reflect the complexity of our current moment.

A nonbinary writer on the eve of top surgery enters into a risky affair during the height of COVID. A lesbian couple enlists a close friend as a sperm donor, plying him with a potent rainbow-colored cocktail. A lonely office worker struggling with their gender identity chaperones their nephew to a trans YouTube convention. And in the depths of a Midwestern winter, a sex-addicted librarian relies on her pet ferrets to help resist a relapse at a wild college fair.

Capturing both the dark and lovable sides of the human experience, Rainbow Rainbow establishes debut author Lydia Conklin as a fearless new voice for their generation. (Catapult)

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June

God’s Children are Little Broken Things

by Arinze Ifeakandu (Jun 7)

In nine exhilarating stories of queer love in contemporary Nigeria, God’s Children Are Little Broken Things announces the arrival of a daring new voice in fiction.

A man revisits the university campus where he lost his first love, aware now of what he couldn’t understand then. A young musician rises to fame at the price of pieces of himself, and the man who loves him. Arinze Ifeakandu explores with tenderness and grace the fundamental question of the heart: can deep love and hope be sustained in spite of the dominant expectations of society, and great adversity. (A Public Space Books)

Screams from the Dark: 29 Tales of Monsters and the Monstrous

edited by Ellen Datlow (Jun 7)

A bone-chilling anthology from legendary horror editor, Ellen Datlow, Screams from the Dark contains twenty-nine all-original tales about monsters.

From werewolves and vampires, to demons and aliens, the monster is one of the most recognizable figures in horror. But what makes something, or someone, monstrous?

Award-winning and up-and-coming authors like Richard Kadrey, Cassandra Khaw, Indrapramit Das, Priya Sharma, and more attempt to answer this question. These all-new stories range from traditional to modern, from mainstream to literary, from familiar monsters to the unknown … and unimaginable.

This chilling collection has something to please―and terrify―everyone, so lock your doors, hide under your covers, and try not to scream.

Contributors include: Ian Rogers, Fran Wilde, Gemma Files, Daryl Gregory, Priya Sharma, Brian Hodge, Joyce Carol Oates, Indrapramit Das, Siobhan Carroll, Richard Kadrey, Norman Partridge, Garry Kilworth, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Chikodili Emelumadu, Glen Hirshberg, A. C. Wise, Stephen Graham Jones, Kaaron Warren, Livia Llewellyn, Carole Johnstone, Margo Lanagan, Joe R. Lansdale, Brian Evenson, Nathan Ballingrud, Cassandra Khaw, Laird Barron, Kristi DeMeester, Jeffrey Ford, and John Langan. (Tor Nightfire)

Shimmer

by Alex Pugsley (Jun 7)

In ten vividly told stories, Shimmer follows characters through relationships, within social norms, and across boundaries of all kinds as they shimmer into and out of each other’s lives.

Outside a 7-Eleven, teen boys Veeper and Wendell try to decide what to do with their night, though the thought of the rest of their lives doesn’t seem to have occurred to them. In Laurel Canyon, two movie stars try to decide if the affair they’re having might mean they like each other.

When Byron, trying to figure out the chords of a song he likes, posts a question on a guitar website, he ends up meeting Jessica as well, a woman with her own difficult music. And when the snide and sharp-tongued Twyla agrees to try therapy, not even she would have imagined the results. (Biblioasis)

Sleeping Alone

by Ru Freeman (Jun 7)

In this collection of rich and textured stories about crossing borders, both real and imagined, Sleeping Alone asks one of the fundamental questions of our times: What is the toll of feeling foreign in one”s land, to others, or even to oneself? A cast of misfits, young and old, single and coupled, even entire family units, confront startling changes wrought by difficult circumstances or harrowing choices.

These stories span the world, moving from Maine to Sri Lanka, from Dublin to Philadelphia, paying exquisite attention to the dance between the intimate details of our lives and our public selves.

Whether Ru Freeman, author of the novel On Sal Mal Lane, is capturing secrets kept by siblings in Sri Lanka, or the life of itinerants in New York City, she renders the nuances of her characters” lives with real sensitivity, and imbues them with surprising dignity and grace. (Graywolf Press)

Ghost Lover

by Lisa Taddeo (Jun 14)

Behind anonymous screens, an army of cool and beautiful girls manage the dating service Ghost Lover, a forwarding system for text messages that promises to spare you the anguish of trying to stay composed while communicating with your crush. At a star-studded political fundraiser in a Los Angeles mansion, a trio of women compete to win the heart of the slick guest of honor. An inseparable pair of hard-partying friends crash into life’s responsibilities, but the magic of their glory days comes alive again at the moment they least expect it.

In these nine riveting stories, two of which have been awarded the Pushcart Prize, Lisa Taddeo brings to life the fever of obsession, the blindness of love, and the mania of grief. Featuring Taddeo’s arresting prose that continues to thrill her legions of fans, Ghost Lover dares you to look away. (Avid Reader Press)

A Calm and Normal Heart: Stories

by Chelsea T. Hicks (Jun 21)

From Oklahoma to California, the heroes of A Calm & Normal Heart are modern-day adventurers—seeking out new places to call their own inside a nation to which they do not entirely belong. A member of the Osage tribe, author Chelsea T. Hicks’ stories are compelled by an overlooked diaspora happening inside America itself: that of young Native people. 

In stories like “Superdrunk,” “Tsexope,” and “Wets’a,” iPhone lifestyles co-mingle with ancestral connection, strengthening relationships or pushing people apart, while generational trauma haunts individual paths. Broken partnerships and polyamorous desire signal a fraught era of modern love, even as old ways continue to influence how people assess compatibility. And in “By Alcatraz,” a Native student finds herself alone on campus over Thanksgiving break, seeking out new friendships during a national holiday she does not recognize. Leaping back in time, “A Fresh Start Ruined” inhabits the life of Florence, an Osage woman attempting to hide her origins while social climbing in midcentury Oklahoma. And in “House of RGB” a young professional settles into a new home, intent on claiming her independence after a break-up, even if her ancestors can’t seem to get out of her way. 

Whether in between college semesters or jobs, on the road to tribal dances or escaping troubled homes, the characters of A Calm & Normal Heart occupy a complicated and often unreliable terrain. Chelsea T. Hicks brings sharp humor, sprawling imagination, and a profound connection to Native experience in a collection that will subvert long-held assumptions for many readers, and inspire hope along the way. (The Unnamed Press)

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July

Life Ceremony: Stories

by Sayaka Murata (Jul 5)

The long-awaited first short story-collection by the author of the cult sensation Convenience Store Woman, tales of weird love, heartfelt friendships, and the unsettling nature of human existence

With Life Ceremony, the incomparable Sayaka Murata is back with her first collection of short stories ever to be translated into English. In Japan, Murata is particularly admired for her short stories, which are sometimes sweet, sometimes shocking, and always imbued with an otherworldly imagination and uncanniness.

In these twelve stories, Murata mixes an unusual cocktail of humor and horror to portray both the loners and outcasts as well as turning the norms and traditions of society on their head to better question them. Whether the stories take place in modern-day Japan, the future, or an alternate reality is left to the reader’s interpretation, as the characters often seem strange in their normality in a frighteningly abnormal world. In “A First-Rate Material,” Nana and Naoki are happily engaged, but Naoki can’t stand the conventional use of deceased people’s bodies for clothing, accessories, and furniture, and a disagreement around this threatens to derail their perfect wedding day. “Lovers on the Breeze” is told from the perspective of a curtain in a child’s bedroom that jealously watches the young girl Naoko as she has her first kiss with a boy from her class and does its best to stop her. “Eating the City” explores the strange norms around food and foraging, while “Hatchling” closes the collection with an extraordinary depiction of the fractured personality of someone who tries too hard to fit in.

In these strange and wonderful stories of family and friendship, sex and intimacy, belonging and individuality, Murata asks above all what it means to be a human in our world and offers answers that surprise and linger. (Grove Press)

Night of the Living Rez

by Morgan Talty (Jul 5)

How do the living come back to life? 

Set in a Native community in Maine, Night of the Living Rez is a riveting debut collection about what it means to be Penobscot in the twenty-first century and what it means to live, to survive, and to persevere after tragedy.

In twelve striking, luminescent stories, author Morgan Talty—with searing humor, abiding compassion, and deep insight—breathes life into tales of family and community bonds as they struggle with a painful past and an uncertain future. A boy unearths a jar that holds an old curse, which sets into motion his family’s unraveling; a man, while trying to swindle some pot from a dealer, discovers a friend passed out in the woods, his hair frozen into the snow; a grandmother suffering from Alzheimer’s projects the past onto her grandson, and thinks he is her dead brother come back to life; and two friends, inspired by Antiques Roadshow, attempt to rob the tribal museum for valuable root clubs. 

In a collection that examines the consequences and merits of inheritance, Night of the Living Rez is an unforgettable portrayal of a Native community and marks the arrival of a standout talent in contemporary fiction. (Tin House Books)

Gods of Want: Stories

by K-Ming Chang (Jul 12)

Startling stories center the bodies, memories, myths, and relationships of Asian American women.

In “Auntland,” a steady stream of aunts adjust to American life by sneaking surreptitious kisses from women at temple, buying tubs of vanilla ice cream to prepare for citizenship tests, and hatching plans to name their daughters “Dog.” In “The Chorus of Dead Cousins,” ghost-cousins cross space, seas, and skies to haunt their live-cousin, wife to a storm chaser. In “Xífù,” a mother-in-law tortures a wife in increasingly unsuccessful attempts to rid the house of her. In “Mariela,” two girls explore one another’s bodies for the first time in the belly of a plastic shark, while in “Virginia Slims,” a woman from a cigarette ad comes to life. And in “Resident Aliens,” a former slaughterhouse serves as a residence to a series of widows, each harboring her own calamitous secrets. 

With each tale, K-Ming Chang gives us her own take on a surrealism that mixes myth and migration, corporeality and ghostliness, queerness and the quotidian. Stunningly told in her feminist fabulist style, these are uncanny stories peeling back greater questions of power and memory. (One World)

Bad Thoughts: Stories

by Nada Alic (Jul 12)

An exhilarating and delightfully deviant debut story collection that, with comedic precision and compulsive irreverence, explores the most surreal and inadmissible fantasies of contemporary women.

Nada Alic’s women—the perverts, nobodies, reality TV stars, poetic hopefuls, shameless party girls, and self-help addicts of Los Angeles and its environs—are all wrestling with a shared stark reality: the modern world. To cope, they live in their baddest thoughts: the lush, strange landscape of female make-believe.

In “Earth to Lydia,” a support group meets to enjoy earthly pleasures after achieving “too much enlightenment,” engaging in bizarre exercises that escalate to a point of violence and fear. The narrator of “Ghost Baby”—the spirit of a proto-child assigned to a couple whose chemistry is waning—writhes in disembodied frustration as its parents fail to conceive it. In “Daddy’s Girl,” the daughter of Eastern European immigrants tries to connect to her distant and difficult father through the invention of increasingly elaborate home maintenance repairs. And in “The Intruder,” a lonely woman’s break-in fantasy quickly builds to a full-blown obsession, until she finds an unwitting partner with whom to act it out.

Though each of Alic’s characters thrive and ache in different circumstances, they all grapple with the most painful equations of modern life: love, trust, power, loneliness, desire, violation, and vengeance. And she conjures them all with a voice that is instantly arresting, unexpectedly hilarious, and absolutely unforgettable. (Vintage)

Hotel California: An Anthology of New Mystery Short Stories

edited by Don Bruns (Jul 12)

Featuring a new Jack Reacher story by Andrew Child!

A dangerous drifter, a hired gun, a grisly corpse — you never know who you’ll run into at the Hotel California.

Eight deliciously talented mystery authors have lent their skills of crafting murder and suspense to this collection of gripping short stories. Each of these eight provocative tales is designed to entertain and mystify — and maybe even chill you to your core. Get lost in the wild imaginations of such New York Times bestselling writers as Andrew Child, Heather Graham, Reed Farrel Coleman, and John Gilstrap, plus authors Rick Bleiweiss, Jennifer Dornbush, Amanda Flower, and Don Bruns. From the titular tale “Hotel California” to a new, original Jack Reacher adventure, these stories have a little something for every mystery lover.

Go ahead. Check in, enjoy some room service, and stay until the very last tantalizing page. Just don’t forget to search the closet or behind the curtains. (Blackstone Publishing)

The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories

by Jamil Jan Kochai (Jul 12)

Pen/Hemingway finalist Jamil Jan Kochai ​breathes life into his contemporary Afghan characters, moving between modern-day Afghanistan and the Afghan diaspora in America. In these arresting stories verging on both comedy and tragedy, often starring young characters whose bravado is matched by their tenderness, Kochai once again captures “a singular, resonant voice, an American teenager raised by Old World Afghan storytellers.”*

In “Playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain,” a young man’s video game experience turns into a surreal exploration on his own father’s memories of war and occupation. Set in Kabul, “Return to Sender” follows two married doctors driven by guilt to leave the US and care for their fellow Afghans, even when their own son disappears. A college student in the US in “Hungry Ricky Daddy” starves himself in protest of Israeli violence against Palestine. And in the title story, “The Haunting of Hajji Hotak,” we learn the story of a man codenamed Hajji, from the perspective of a government surveillance worker, who becomes entrenched in the immigrant family’s life.

The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories is a moving exploration of characters grappling with the ghosts of war and displacement—and one that speaks to the immediate political landscape we reckon with today. (Viking)

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August

Bad Mothers, Bad Daughters

by Maya Sonenberg (Aug 1)

In these dense and startling stories, Maya Sonenberg telescopes seasons, decades, and generations in candid depictions of women’s family lives.

What happens when the urge to ditch your family outpaces the desire to love them? The stories in Bad Mothers, Bad Daughters, winner of the Richard Sullivan Prize in Short Fiction, attempt to answer this question, heading straight for the messiness of domestic relationships and the constraints society places on women as they navigate their obligations. Daughters desert their rheumy-eyed elders in dusty museums, steal a mother’s favorite teacup, or consider throwing their dead parents’ nostalgia-riddled belongings out the window. Mothers conclude that they love one child more than their others. Fathers puzzle over a wife’s inability to balance family and career or accuse a partner of blaming their child for her own misdeeds. Women mourn the children they decided not to have and fret over the legacy they’ll leave the children they do have. But sometimes the generations reconcile or siblings manage to rescue each other. Love tears these people apart, but it mends them too.

The emotions expressed in these stories are combustible, both fraught and nuanced, uncontrollable and common, but above all often ignored or hushed because we’re not supposed to be bored by our children or annoyed with our aged parents, even as we love them. The careful shapes of these stories adapted from fairy tales, verse, letters, or newspaper announcements, the surprise of their wordplay, and the blaze of their lyrical sentences allow them to dig into and contain all those messy emotions at the same time. In these works, constraint creates both understanding and fire. (University of Notre Dame Press)

Her First Palestinian (and Other Stories)

by Saeed Teebi (Aug 2)

Elegant, surprising stories about Palestinian immigrants in Canada navigating their identities in circumstances that push them to the emotional brink.

Saeed Teebi’s intense, engrossing stories plunge into the lives of characters grappling with their experiences as Palestinian immigrants to Canada. A doctor teaches his girlfriend about his country, only for her to fall into a consuming obsession with the Middle East conflict. A math professor risks his family’s destruction by slandering the king of a despotic, oil-rich country. A university student invents an imaginary girlfriend to fit in with his callous, womanizing roommates. A lawyer takes on the impossible mission of becoming a body smuggler. A lonely widower travels to Russia in search of a movie starlet he met in his youth in historical Jaffa. A refugee who escaped violent circumstances rebels against the kindness of his sponsor. These taut and compelling stories engage the immigrant experience and reflect the Palestinian diaspora with grace and insight. (Astoria)

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September

The Best Short Stories 2022: The O. Henry Prize Winners

edited by Valeria Luiselli and Jenny Minton Quigley (Sep 13)

The prestigious annual story anthology includes prize-winning stories by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Lorrie Moore, Olga Tokarczuk, Joseph O’Neill, and Samanta Schweblin.

Continuing a century-long tradition of cutting-edge literary excellence, this year’s edition contains twenty prizewinning stories chosen from the thousands published in magazines over the previous year. Guest editor Valeria Luiselli has brought her own refreshing perspective to the prize, selecting stories by an engaging mix of celebrated names and emerging voices and including stories in translation from Bengali, Greek, Hebrew, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, and Spanish. The winning stories are accompanied by an introduction by Luiselli, observations from the winning writers on what inspired them, and an extensive resource list of magazines that publish short fiction. (Anchor Books)

THE WINNING STORIES:

“Screen Time,” by Alejandro Zambra,
translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell

“The Wolves of Circassia,” by Daniel Mason

“Mercedes’s Special Talent,” by Tere Dávila,
translated from the Spanish by Rebecca Hanssens-Reed

“Rainbows,” by Joseph O’Neill

“A Way with Bea,” by Shanteka Sigers

“Seams,” by Olga Tokarczuk,
translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft

“The Little Widow from the Capital,” by Yohanca Delgado

“Lemonade,” by Eshkol Nevo,
translated from the Hebrew by Sondra Silverston

“Breastmilk,” by ‘Pemi Aguda

“The Old Man of Kusumpur,” by Amar Mitra,
translated from the Bengali by Anish Gupta

“Where They Always Meet,” by Christos Ikonomou,
translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich

“Fish Stories,” by Janika Oza

“Horse Soup,” by Vladimir Sorokin,
translated from the Russian by Max Lawton

“Clean Teen,” by Francisco González

“Dengue Boy,” by Michel Nieva,
translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer

“Zikora,” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“Apples,” by Gunnhild Øyehaug,
translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson

“Warp and Weft,” by David Ryan

“Face Time,” by Lorrie Moore

“An Unlucky Man,” by Samanta Schweblin,
translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell

Bliss Montage: Stories

by Ling Ma (Sep 13)

A new creation by the author of SeveranceBliss Montage crashes through our carefully built mirages.

What happens when fantasy tears the screen of the everyday to wake us up? Could that waking be our end?

In Bliss Montage, Ling Ma brings us eight wildly different tales of people making their way through the madness and reality of our collective delusions: love and loneliness, connection and possession, friendship, motherhood, the idea of home. A woman lives in a house with all her ex-boyfriends. A toxic friendship grows up around a drug that makes you invisible. An ancient ritual might heal you of anything―if you bury yourself alive.

These and other scenarios investigate the ways that the outlandish and the ordinary are shockingly, deceptively, heartbreakingly alike. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The Year of the Monster

by Tara Stillions Whitehead (Sep 27)

The Year of the Monster begins with a case-study look at the Hollywood dream-proxy for the American Dream-and then weaves the woes of celebrity fetish and media culture into real and speculative conversations about the human, climate, and spiritual crises of today. Mixing traditional storytelling with purposeful experimentation, Stillions Whitehead balances prose, script, and hybrids on the fulcrum of classic truth: Monsters and monstrosity are not strictly teratological horrors.

Monster challenges the moral binaries of traditional story justice, situating vulnerable characters in strange, transgressive spaces: A disgraced high school math teacher gives birth to a black hole. Two women discover a dead bird in a near-future when wildlife is extinct. A man finds relief in losing his wife to a tornado. An Army wife coping with isolation is unable to escape media coverage of her former lover facing execution on death row. A cast of Hollywood characters catalog the process of dehumanization in an industry fueled by erasure: a young PA is forced to inoculate a drunk B-list actor in her trailer; two men negotiate a high-profile film project while rewriting the rape trial and suicide of a woman from film school; a young assistant is assaulted-and swept under the rug-while working on the number one sitcom in America. (Unsolicited Press)

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October

Illuminations

by Alan Moore (Oct 10, 2022)

In his first-ever short story collection, which spans forty years of work and features many never-before-published pieces, Alan Moore presents a series of wildly different and equally unforgettable characters who discover–and in some cases even make and unmake–the various uncharted parts of existence.

In “A Hypothetical Lizard,” two concubines in a brothel for sorcerers fall in love with tragic ramifications. In “Not Even Legend,” a paranormal study group is infiltrated by one of the otherworldly beings they seek to investigate. In “Illuminations,” a nostalgic older man decides to visit a seaside resort from his youth and finds the past all too close at hand. And in the monumental novella “What We Can Know About Thunderman,” which charts the surreal and Kafkaesque history of the comics industry over the last seventy-five years through several sometimes-naive and sometimes-maniacal people rising and falling on its career ladders, Moore reveals the dark, beating heart of the superhero business.

From ghosts and otherworldly creatures to the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and theoretical Boltzmann brains fashioning the universe at the big bang, Illuminations is exactly that–a series of bright, startling tales from a contemporary legend that reveal the full power of imagination and magic. (Bloomsbury USA)

Liberation Day

by George Saunders (Oct 18)

The “best short story writer in English” (Time) is back with a masterful collection that explores ideas of power, ethics, and justice, and cuts to the very heart of what it means to live in community with our fellow humans. With his trademark prose–wickedly funny, unsentimental, and perfectly tuned–Saunders continues to challenge and surprise: here is a collection of prismatic, deeply resonant stories that encompass joy and despair, oppression and revolution, bizarre fantasy and brutal reality.

“Love Letter” is a tender missive from grandfather to grandson, in the midst of a dystopian political situation in the not-too-distant future, that reminds us of our obligations to our ideals, ourselves, and each other. “Ghoul” is set in a Hell-themed section of an underground amusement park in Colorado, and follows the exploits of a lonely, morally complex character named Brian, who comes to question everything he takes for granted about his “reality.” In “Mother’s Day,” two women who loved the same man come to an existential reckoning in the middle of a hailstorm. And in “Elliott Spencer,” our eighty-nine-year-old protagonist finds himself brainwashed–his memory “scraped”–a victim of a scheme in which poor, vulnerable people are reprogrammed and deployed as political protesters.

Together, these nine subversive, profound, and essential stories coalesce into a case for viewing the world with the same generosity and clear-eyed attention as Saunders does, even in the most absurd of circumstances. (Random House)

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November

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2022

by John Joseph Adams and Rebecca Roanhorse (Nov 1)

Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author and guest editor Rebecca Roanhorse and series editor John Joseph Adams select twenty pieces that represent the best examples of the form published the previous year and explore the ever-expanding and changing world of SFF today. 

Today’s readers of science fiction and fantasy have an appetite for stories that address a wide variety of voices, perspectives, and styles. There is an openness to experiment and pushing boundaries, combined with the classic desire to read about spaceships and dragons, future technology and ancient magic, and the places where they intersect. Contemporary science fiction and fantasy looks to accomplish the same goal as ever—to illuminate what it means to be human.

With a diverse selection of stories chosen by series editor John Joseph Adams and guest editor Rebecca Roanhorse, The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2022 explores the ever-expanding and changing world of contemporary science fiction and fantasy. (Harper Collins)

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