T5W: 5 Hidden Gems in the Short Story Collection Category

Today’s Top Five Wednesday is about hidden gem books in a particular genre.  I feel like the entire genre of short story collections is frequently overlooked which is such a shame.  I love how these stories loosely connect by some thread or sliver of a theme that runs among them.  Here are 5 short story collections I would highly recommend!  Have you read any of these?  What are some of your favorite little-known or well-known short story collections?  Top Five Wednesday is a meme hosted by Samantha and Lainey with a different suggested topic each week.  If you’d like to check it out on their Goodreads community page, click here.

  1.  Kissing in Manhatten by David Schickler – This is a short story collection about various people living within the same building in Manhattan.  There is something magical within these stories.  There is love which can be exhilarating or terrifying.  The characters come together in the end in a strange way.  This is a book that made me laugh, shiver and feel for the characters.
  2. Man & Wife by Katie Chase – This debut short story collection was published in May 2016.  There are several common themes threading their way through the stories including:  societal gender roles, the competition among and between girls and women, the vulnerability and seeming powerlessness of women in many cultures and the ways in which they are able to rebel, and pasts that once seemed laid to rest that come back to haunt.  The stories are powerful and affecting.
  3. The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen – This short story collection published in February 2017 by Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Sympathizer is about Korean refugee experiences in America. The writing is incredible.  The stories themselves are beautiful, emotion-laden, with excellent character development and complexity.  The true nature behind the characters are revealed in unexpected ways.  The tension created by the juxtaposition of Vietnamese culture in affluent America (as well as the converse) are explored.  These stories are not simply an exploration of Vietnamese culture and the refugee experience, but transcend that with the stories evoking so much truth about humanity that simply involve refugees as characters.
  4. Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez – This debut short story collection translated from Spanish was published in English in February 2017.  These short stories invoke living nightmares and nightmarish creatures that dwell just below the surface of normal life and enter into these stories in unexpected ways.  There are ghosts of the past, horrific creatures, and a sense of the clairvoyance.  This Argentinian writer weaves horror stories that bring up horrors of Argentina’s recent past and provides social commentary in unexpected ways.
  5. This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz – This short story collection is about relationships of all kinds:  familial, sexual, romantic and cultural.  Yunior is the Dominican narrator of all the stories except one and the stories take place at various points in Yunior’s life and development.  The writing is incredible.  The stories are emotional, witty, and so well done.


7 thoughts on “T5W: 5 Hidden Gems in the Short Story Collection Category”

  1. I read This is How You Lose Her last summer, because Diaz came to my college in the fall. He was an engaging speaker and a very nice person, but I found these stories (and the bits I read of Oscar Wao) very… male. It was hard for me to get past the point of view.

    1. I agree that the stories are very “male.” Oscar Wao was the first Diaz book I read and I did not connect as well with that one, but I loved This is How You Lose Her tremendously. I think I went into it with different expectations and therefore got much more out of it.

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