11 very short stories, mostly by women & people of colour
August 5, 2019 10:19 AM   Subscribe

11 (very) short stories by diverse authors. Bustle provides a list with links to eleven excellent short stories by authors from five different countries—eight written by women and six by people of colour. Authors include Zadie Smith, Sofia Samatar, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jamaica Kincaid, Roxane Gay, Ken Liu, Lydia Davis, Dorothy Parker, Fredric Brown, Danielle McLaughlin, and George Saunders.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl (5 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
If you want to listen to Ken Liu’s “The Paper Menagerie,” Levar Burton does a reading of it on his podcast, Levar Burton Reads. His podcast frequently features stories by women and black, indigenous & people of colour (BIPOC).
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:30 AM on August 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

The violence hiding in plain sight in Ken Liu's story always makes me choke up in anger. So much that the more overtly evoked emotion -- the guilt/sadness of an adult child who as a teenager misunderstood the parent -- passes me by entirely.
posted by MiraK at 11:34 AM on August 5, 2019

I found that story really stayed with me from that list—the racism towards the mom does make me furious, but as the child of a white father and Chinese immigrant mother, I can relate to the guilt the narrator feels when looking back at the internalized racism that informed his childhood understanding of his mother. Thankfully my parents had (and have) a good and far more equitable relationship than the parents in the story, and I have had the opportunity to have a good adult relationship with my own mom, but there are bits of Jack’s childhood thought process that are uncomfortably close to home.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:28 PM on August 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the narrator's thought processes are extremely recognizable to me, too, but I rebel somewhat against the notion that we should feel guilty about that as adults. We were reacting in a completely normal way given our life stage, brain development, and most of all our racist peers & society. It wasn't our fault that we acted in cruel ways. I mean, it's mandatory to grow out of it and make amends by being kind adult children. But this level of guilt. Ugh.

I strongly question instead the environmental/cultural/family norms (in this case, literally slave-like conditions for the mother) that drive a parent to dump so much responsibility for their own emotional well-being onto a child. Let children be children, let teens be teens. I long for Jack to snap out of his guilt and direct his anger where it belongs: at his dad.
posted by MiraK at 2:32 PM on August 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

I’m so glad to have reread Roxane Gay’s story. I’m embarrassed to admit that I interpreted it literally when I read it originally. It makes so much more sense now. Her stories often include trauma of one kind or another. This is a startling picture of a charm/abuse type of cycle and the person enmeshed in it.
posted by Knowyournuts at 10:17 PM on August 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

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