When we think of the great short stories, we think of Chekhov, Joyce and Hemingway. The editor of Houghton Mifflin’s annual Best American Short Stories this year, E.L. Doctorow, says the short story writers of today are different. They are “drifting away from the classic model of the modern short story,” he writes, and “more disposed to the episodic than the epiphanic.” Contemporary stories remind him of 19th century stories. They’re longer, more dramatic and their meanings not hard to grasp. What we like best about the short story – both old and new – is that it can be savored in one sitting – on a subway ride, or before bed.
The writer Ursula LeGuin thinks of them as carrrier bags. “Like bellies or baskets,” she says, “like houses or wombs, like the great sac of the cosmos itself, they are containers for holding something vital.” Celebrating the story, this Thanksgiving, this hour on the Connection
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)