Nicole Krauss has a book of short stories coming out in a few weeks called To Be a Man, and as I’ve been reading this new collection I am reminded that what brought me to this author back in 2002 was the publication of her debut novel, Man Walks Into a Room. The premise of her first novel is that when a thirty-six year old man in the prime of his life and intellectual career has a small tumor removed from his brain it leaves him without any memories after the age of twelve. When his beautiful wife brings him home to their New York apartment he finds himself a lonely stranger in his own life. I’m currently rereading this novel with a friend, savoring the language and reflecting upon the ineffable qualities that make up each individual person. Krauss went on to write two other favorite books of mine: The History of Love and Great House. I hope you’ll have a chance to read any of her thoughtful books.
Reading short story collections can be a great way to explore an author without the investment of time required by a novel. You may enjoy the sense of completion you experience in being able to finish a piece in one sitting. This may be especially true now, when our time has become even more fragmented and it is sometimes difficult to hold our attention steady.
- All the Days and Nights, by William Maxwell (especially the wonderful Improvisations in the last part of this collection are worth the price of admission!)
- Flash Fiction: 72 Very Short Stories, edited by Tom Hazuka
- Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri
- Selected Stories, by Andre Dubus
- The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories, by Sarah Orne Jewett (especially “The White Heron” is so beautiful)
- Collected Stories, by Wallace Stegner
- Thunderstruck, by Elizabeth McCracken
- Collected Stories, by Raymond Carver
- Woman Lit By Fireflies, Three novellas by Jim Harrison