9 Canadian short story collections to read during Short Story Month
May is Short Story Month. Celebrate by checking out a great Canadian short story collection.
The seven stories in Use Your Imagination!, Bertin's second collection, explore how we tell our own stories — through personal history, memories, observing others, telling lies and more — and how those stories make us who we are. In one story, a comedian watches a close friend die of cancer, in another a prisoner participates in a creative writing program, and in another, neighbours spy on a family new to the community. Use Your Imagination! is funny, unsettling and observant. Bertin is also the author of Bad Things Happen, which won a ReLit Award and the Danuta Gleed Literary Award.
In the stories of Immigrant City, a wannabe boxer finds work as a security guard in the Toronto suburbs, a father and daughter end up in a strange rendition of his immigrant childhood and a young man unwittingly makes contact with the underworld. David Bezmozgis's previous books include the short story collection Natasha and Other Stories and the novel The Betrayers.
Philip Huynh's short fiction collection dives into the Vietnamese diaspora, following the burgeoning bond of private school outcasts, the discovery of a father's terrible secret and the isolation of a young bride on a distant island, among other stories. The Forbidden Purple City is B.C. lawyer Philip Huynh's debut collection.
Coconut Dreams, Derek Mascarenhas's debut short story collection, follows the lives of one family through a series of linked stories. The Pinto family immigrated from Goa, India to suburban Canada. The book focuses on the siblings, Aiden and Ally Pinto, who are growing up as first generation Canadians in the 1990s, but weaves in stories from other family members and the family's past to paint a portrait of what it's like to bring your family to a new and foreign country and to create a new identity, both as individuals and as a family.
Something for Everyone is a collection of stunning short fiction by Newfoundland writer Lisa Moore. With a knack for exploiting beauty in bleak circumstances, Moore writes of shoe store employees contemplating lust and loss, a middle-aged woman conned out of her life savings and a grief-stricken young woman concerned that her neighbour is a serial rapist. The book was longlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize and is currently a finalist for the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award.
Shut Up, You're Pretty is a short fiction collection that tells stories of young women coming of age in the 21st century. Téa Mutonji's characters include a young woman who shaves her head in an abortion clinic waiting room, a mother and daughter who bond over fish and a teenager seeking happiness with her pack of cigarettes. Shut Up, You're Pretty is Mutonji's first short story collection.
Guestbook collects over two dozen short stories, vignettes and images from visual artist Leanne Shapton, who explores the uncanny experience of being haunted. Her characters include a tennis player who attributes his successes to an invisible entity, ghosts who visit their old beds and a woman who leaves Alcatraz with a peculiar feeling. Shapton's previous books include the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award winner Swimming Studies.
Divided Loyalties is a collection of stories about the diverse lives of Iranian women through the past several decades and across Iran and Canada. Nilofar Shidmehr's stories follow young girls and women as they look beyond their designated roles as mothers, daughters, sisters and wives in times of war, refuge and reflection. Divided Loyalties is poet and essayist Shidmehr's debut collection of short fiction.
Moccasin Square Gardens is a collection of humorous short fiction set in Denendeh, the land of the people north of the 60th parallel. Richard Van Camp's stories involve extraterrestrials, illegal wrestling moves and the legendary Wheetago, human-eating monsters who have come to punish the greed of humanity. Van Camp is a prolific novelist, comic writer and children's book writer whose work includes The Lesser Blessed, A Blanket of Butterflies and Little You.